By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News
For over 18 years Lynn Thackray had debilitating heartburn.
Lynn nearly lost her job because of reflux
Her symptoms became so bad that she was woken several times a night, she became over-tired and started missing work.
At one stage Lynn, a civil servant, became so depressed because of her symptoms she missed 11 months of work and nearly lost her job.
Her quality of life started to suffer and she became reluctant to go out for meals with friends.
"I'd always suffered from mild stomach acid but it was when I became pregnant for the first time, over 16 years ago, that it really started to affect me.
"The symptoms became more and more severe and by the time I had my third child in 1997, I was crippled with acid night-and-day.
"There were simple things, like tying shoelaces or bending down to get dinner plates, that I just couldn't do anymore.
"The symptoms were waking me several times a week so there were days when I couldn't go into work because I felt so tired.
"But you can't get away with that for long when you're working full time."
Lynn said her social life and my relationships with her family and friends also suffered.
"It got to the stage where I couldn't go for a meal, because I didn't want to pay for food which I knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy.
"I became very conscious that I was being boring or a kill-joy.
"It also started to impact on my relationship with my husband - when you feel that ill, you just don't feel like being intimate with someone."
Lynn, 45, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, tried several over-the-counter remedies, but none had any effect.
She saw numerous doctors, but they were unable to help.
"They'd just tell me to change my diet and my drinking habits. I did what they said for a few weeks but I was exactly the same.
"I was actually diagnosed with seriously high blood pressure when I was 40 and they seemed to take this more seriously than my heartburn."
Eventually, Lynn found a doctor who suggested a type of medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) - drugs used to treat ulcers and severe stomach indigestion.
Thankfully, this worked for her.
But she is said it took too long for her condition to be recognised, although she said that was partly her own fault.
She explained that she would often just mention her condition when visiting about something else and it was not until her job was under threat that she begged her GP to take action.
Statistics show that, like Lynn, over a quarter of Britons have gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, also known as GORD, and thousands of these are not getting the treatment they need.
GORD is caused by excess acid rising up from the stomach into the gullet (oesophagus), which results in painful symptoms of heartburn.
The symptoms of GORD are often so painful that a third of sufferers are kept awake nearly every night from the symptoms and eight out of 10 people with it have to avoid certain foods they enjoy.
Research has shown that people with GORD have reported a similar quality effect on their life to the impact of mild heart failure.
GP Dr Rob Hicks, said that GORD as a diagnosis is a relatively new phenomenon and that although most medical practitioners are aware of it, many patients may still be suffering in ignorance.
"What we are trying to do is to raise awareness, because there are many people still suffering from heartburn two or three times a week.
"I would advise them to see their doctor."
He said that doctors nowadays were generally less paternalistic and more open to patients returning time and time again until they found a treatment that suits them.
And he said that although heartburn might in the past have been dismissed by some as trivial, it was now recognised as a serious affliction which could in a few cases lead to ulcers and even pre-cancerous cells.
"National guidelines point to PPI's as the first line of treatment for GORD because they treat the condition and help the healing process," he added.