Doctor Benton Brown, a general surgeon and director of Shannon Medical Center’s Reflux Clinic says ’tis the season for GERD.

GERD is short for gastro esophageal reflux disease, it’s one of the most common diseases in America. One out of every 5 Americans, that’s 60 million people suffer from GERD everyday,” says Brown.

“GERD itself is the failure of the muscle in between the stomach and the esophagus and it’s allowing the stomach acid to come up when it should be staying down in the stomach after you eat.”

It’s big meals consumed on Thanksgiving that could send patients racing to the hospital.

“GERD is affected by a lot of things. Weight is a big issue, the kind of food that you eat can affect the time that you reflux and the amount of reflux you have, so we definitely see a lot more over the holidays,” says Brown.

“The biggest thing we fight with GERD every day is people thinking that reflux disease is a bad meal choice and not a disease. This is a disease. It’s a problem with a muscle that’s failed.”

Brown says the main symptoms of reflux is heartburn after you eat and the feeling of acid coming up into your throat or back of your mouth. He goes on to say those symptoms usually worsen when lying flat after eating a big meal or in times of stress.

“We see in GERD in anybody from five years old to 95 years old. It affects all ranges of life, all body sizes and shapes, all parts of the country, all over the world.”

GERD can be treated by medication or surgery.