While experiencing occasional heartburn and acid reflux is normal, symptoms surfacing consistently more than twice a week could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

These symptoms may affect patients differently and involve symptoms which vary from mild or moderate to severe. You may experience any of the typical and atypical symptoms listed below:

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Gas & bloating
  • Soreness of chest and throat
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty swallowing


GERD is caused by changes in the gastroesophageal valve (GEV) that allow acid to flow back from the stomach into the esophagus. The GEV is the body’s natural antireflux barrier.

Several factors may contribute to acid reflux including:

  • Consumption of certain foods and beverages including fatty and fried foods, chocolate, caffeine, citrus fruits, garlic and onion may trigger acid reflux
  • Obesity as excess weight puts  pressure on the abdomen which pushes stomach acid back into the esophagus
  • Pregnancy, hormonal changes and increased pressure on the abdomen during pregnancy can contribute to acid reflux
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption, smoking and excessive alcohol intake may  worsen acid reflux
  • After bariatric surgery: sleeve gastrectomy


  • Clinically, typical symptoms
  • X-ray: barium swallow
  • Endoscopy: visualise hiatus hernia, esophagitis
  • pH metry: confirms the nature of the reflux - acid, bile or mixed


Acid reflux may be managed with lifestyle modifications, over the counter medications or surgical intervention in advanced cases.

Lifestyle modifications include:

  • Eating smaller meals more frequently rather than large meals
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Keep your head elevated while you sleep to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus
  • Avoid lying down for at least two hours after eating  
  • Quitting smoking

Medical treatment:

  • Antacid medication
  • Prokinetics
  • Esophageal and gastric protectors

Surgical and endoscopic treatment:

  • Correction of the hiatus hernia after failure of medical treatment
  • Tightness of esophageal sphincter