published Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Ask a doctor

Q: What is GERD?

A: GERD is Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, commonly known as heartburn or regurgitation of acid, that happens more than twice a week or heartburn that affects quality of life. It is caused by obesity or pregnancy, which creates pressure on the stomach, or a weak valve between the esophagus and stomach (hiatal hernia). Symptoms relating to the esophagus include heartburn, difficulty or painful swallowing, regurgitation of stomach contents into esophagus or mouth, Increased phlegm and belching. Other symptoms can be chronic cough or sore throat, asthma, hoarseness, chest pain (noncardiac) or trouble with sleeping.

— Dr. Richard A. Krause, ClinSearch (which conducts medical studies for GERD); member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit an obesity-related question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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