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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also called acid reflux, is a common digestive condition you may experience after eating. GERD occurs when your stomach acid or food flows back up into your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat to your stomach, and irritates its lining. A main symptom of GERD is heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest.

Our digestive health experts use the latest technology and approaches backed by leading-edge research to treat GERD. Our goal is to help relieve GERD symptoms and help you feel better. Typical signs and symptoms of GERD can include:

  • Bitter/sour taste in your mouthChest pain*Dry coughHoarseness or a sore throatRegurgitation of undigested food or liquid (acid reflux)Sensation of a lump in your throatTrouble swallowing (dysphagia)

*Note: Seek immediate medical attention if you experience chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath or jaw or arm pain. These may be symptoms of a heart attack, not GERD.

At the University of Miami Health System, our digestive health specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating GERD. They work as a team with other specialists to ensure you get complete care – whether you need a dietitian to help you make dietary changes or a thoracic surgeon to provide advanced treatment.


Upper GI Series
This test checks your esophagus, stomach, and the upper part of your small intestine. You will swallow a metallic fluid called barium to make your organs visible on an X-ray.

Upper Endoscopy or EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy)
This test looks at the inside of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine using an endoscope – a thin, lighted tube with a camera – inserted through your mouth.

Bernstein Test
This test can help determine if the acid in your esophagus is causing your symptoms. We drip mild acid through a tube placed in your throat, copying the effects of acid reflux.

Esophageal Manometry
This test uses an endoscope, inserted through your nostril, with pressure sensors that measure the strength of your esophagus muscles. The test can tell your doctor if you have acid reflux or swallowing problems.

pH Monitoring
This test uses a thin, plastic tube with a pH sensor to measure the pH or acid level in your esophagus. We place the tube through your nostril into your throat. The end of the tube outside your body is attached to a small monitor that records your pH levels for 24 to 48 hours.


Your doctor may prescribe medications – such as antacids, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors – to help reduce the symptoms or treat the underlying cause of your GERD.

Lifestyle Modifications
You may be able to reduce GERD symptoms if you avoid alcohol and spicy, fatty, fried, or acidic foods (including chocolate). You should also avoid citrus fruit, caffeine, and tomato products. Try to eat smaller meals, eat at least a few hours before bedtime, and don’t lie down right after eating.

If your GERD symptoms are severe and lifestyle changes and medication don’t make you feel better, your doctor may recommend surgery. You may also need surgery if tests show you have Barrett’s esophagus which causes changes to the cells lining your esophagus.

Why Choose UHealth?

Fast, accurate diagnosis of your conditions. We have the only motility lab in South Florida, which allows our GI specialists to provide accurate results faster. That means they can begin treatment right away, and you can feel better sooner.

A broad array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Whether you need long- or short-term digestive care, you will receive personal attention and leading-edge treatment to improve the health of your digestive system.

Improving surgical care. We participate in the latest research and clinical trials, which help determine which surgeries work best for patients. This research advances patient care and safety while shaping the future of surgical treatment. Our surgeons have helped develop promising new therapies for a wide range of conditions – approaches that improve safety and help patients recover more quickly.

A comprehensive team of surgeons. We provide advanced surgical care for a full range of health problems — from airway and lung diseases to cancer. You’ll receive care from a surgeon with expertise in your condition, ensuring you get leading-edge treatment that’s personalized to meet your needs.

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