Reflux is the occurrence of stomach acid backing up into the esophagus, the long narrow tube that connects the throat to the stomach. When this happens, you may have a terrible taste and burning sensation in your chest and throat.
Occasional reflux is common and often can be treated with over-the-counter medicines, such as antacids like TUMS®, or other types of medications called H2 blockers (Pepcid®, Zantac®), or proton-pump prohibitors (Nexium®, Prilosec®).
But when reflux occurs frequently and consistently over time, you may have a more serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
People who have GERD are at greater risk for a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus. GERD and Barrett’s esophagus are the only known and identifiable risk factors for a type of esophageal cancer. It’s important to screen for these two conditions to identify esophageal cancer in its earliest stages when treatment options are better.
Learn about our quick, painless screening for Barrett's esophagus.