Answers to Common Digestive Health Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about digestive health.

What are heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux?

Dr. Lowry discusses heartburn and types of reflux. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


Types of indigestion are often called by the wrong names when talked about. Though they can be related, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, and heartburn are all different issues.

GERD causes the contents of the stomach to leak backward into the esophagus – the tube the goes from the mouth to the stomach, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This happens when the lower part of the esophagus does not close correctly.

The most common symptoms of GERD, according to the NIH, include:

  • Burning pain in the chest
  • Feeling like food is stuck in the chest, behind the breastbone
  • Nausea after eating

These symptoms usually get worse when you bend over or lie down, according to the NIH.

Acid reflux is when stomach acid that goes backward from the stomach touches the lining of the esophagus, according to the NIH. The acid causes a burning feeling in the chest or throat.

Heartburn is the burning feeling in the chest or throat that is caused by acid reflux. Sometimes the acid can be tasted in the back of the mouth, according to the NIH.

It is normal to have occasional heartburn, according to the NIH, but if you have heartburn more than twice a week, it might be GERD or become a more serious issue.

For more information about any of these forms of indigestion, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Source: L. Stewart Lowry, MD, FACS, Miami County Surgeons; Rosanne Danielson, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists; Fayez Abboud, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists; Marcus Washington, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine


Schedule an appointment

To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider, call (866) 608-FIND(866) 608-FIND or complete the form below to receive a call from our scheduling department to make an appointment.