How Common Is Acid Reflux Disease?


A prevalent health concern, acid reflux is a digestive symptom that can impact people of all ages. Should it develop into a persistent issue, however, the disorder may be diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Acid reflux happens when food and acid in the stomach reverse course and push back toward the esophagus. When this occurs, patients often have uncomfortable effects, like heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest), in addition to others. At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, our gastrointestinal (GI) specialists routinely identify and treat chronic cases of acid reflux in Tulsa, OK patients. Continue reading to learn how common gastroesophageal reflux disease is and when to reach out to our gastroenterologists for medical care.

How prevalent is acid indigestion?

GERD is widely diagnosed as having acid reflux episodes more than twice a week that occur alongside esophageal inflammation. Around 20 percent of adults in the United States are living with GERD, and about 10 percent of children have symptoms of acid reflux at least once each week. In the absence of professional assistance, this GI disease can lead to several other health issues, including esophagitis, esophageal sores, and Barrett’s esophagus. Visiting a gastrointestinal specialist at Adult Gastroenterology Associates in Tulsa, OK can allow our team to diagnose GERD early on and reduce your chance of developing these conditions.

What causes GERD?

Problems with acid reflux can develop in any stage of life, including the early childhood years. Gastroesophageal reflux disease may develop when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes or is unable to stop stomach acid and food from regurgitating into the esophagus. Factors that may lead to GERD are:

  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Lasting dry cough
  • Stomach hernia
  • Certain foods and drinks (such as chocolate, coffee, and peppermint)
  • Elevated acid production in the stomach
  • Some types of medications
  • Being overweight
  • Sensitivity to certain foods
  • Laxation of the LES
  • Alcohol consumption

Can GERD symptoms be relieved?

Individuals who have acid reflux disease may notice several symptoms, including heartburn, which tends to be the most common. Further symptoms of acid reflux disease often include:

  • Vomiting
  • Bloated stomach
  • Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Repeated belching
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Sensation of something lodged in the throat
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Inflammation of the larynx

The experienced GI doctors at Adult Gastroenterology Associates frequently provide care for Tulsa, OK patients who experience persistent acid reflux. The symptoms of GERD can be minimized or managed through lifestyle improvements (like weight reduction and quitting smoking), medications, and improved eating habits. For some individuals, a surgical approach, such as fundoplication, might be required to repair the esophageal sphincter.

Find treatment for GERD in Tulsa, OK

Acid reflux disease may be a common GI problem, but it can affect your comfort, health, and quality of life in a variety of ways. For additional details on the prevalence of acid reflux disease or to receive treatment for GERD symptoms, please contact Adult Gastroenterology Associates today. Our board-certified gastroenterologists provide the skill and experience required to help you and your loved ones attain improved gastrointestinal health.