No Relief for Your Heartburn? NERD may be the culprit

Heartburn is a very common ailment in the United States. More than 60 million Americans experience the uncomfortable condition at least once a month, while an unfortunate 7 percent of the population suffers daily. Over-the-counter antacids may spell relief for milder cases. A more chronic condition, known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), requires the strongest acid-reducing medications, called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole). For some patients, however, even PPIs fail to remedy the problem.

If medications aren’t helping your heartburn and a doctor’s examination reveals no evidence of acid erosion in your esophagus, your condition may be something other than GERD. Physicians have dubbed the syndrome non-erosive reflux disease, but are unsure as to why half of GERD patients fail to respond to PPIs. If you fall in this category or know someone who does, you may be interested in an article from the Wall Street Journal that explains why many people, perhaps as many as 40-50 percent, who have heartburn don’t respond to acid reflux medications.

If you’re suffering from chronic heartburn, see your Gastrointestinal Associates physician. If you’re taking PPIs but getting no relief, further testing to determine the cause is recommended.