Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a serious ongoing condition in which your stomach contents splash back up into your esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and pain in your chest or abdomen.
You’re more likely to have GERD if you are overweight, a smoker, a pregnant woman or taking certain medications, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. About 20 percent of Americans experience chronic GERD.
Many people effectively manage GERD with medications, including proton pump inhibitors. Doctors dispense millions of PPI prescriptions every year; you can also buy some varieties at your local drugstore. These drugs work well against chronic heartburn and acid reflux, but medical concerns about their long-term use recently prompted new Food and Drug Administration warnings.