I started having terrible pain in my chest/abdominal area, especially after eating certain foods and upon waking up. Since GERD runs in my family I assumed I had GERD and so I started taking medications that I bought at the drugstore. After 2 years of living with a lot of pain, I underwent an endoscopy procedure. A white substance was found in my esophagus and was found to be a "yeast" infection. I took medication which cured it and since then I have not had any pain at all - I can eat anything and sleep normally again. Bottom line - I did not have GERD. Other issues can cause the same symptoms; ask questions and work closely with your doctor to investigate health problems.