Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease


Image Caption: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) : A figure with visible gastrointestinal tract is shown to compare a healthy esophagus and an inflamed esophagus due to erosion by stomach acid in a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a disorder in which the sphincter muscle at the base of the esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, causing stomach acid to flow backwards into the esophagus. The acid irritates and inflames the lining of the esophagus, causing a burning sensation. Changes in diet and lifestyle can help reduce or eliminate symptoms of GERD and also lower the risk of developing the disease in the first place.

GERD

Also called: Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it.

You may feel a burning in the chest or throat called. Sometimes, you can taste stomach fluid in the back of the mouth. If you have these symptoms more than twice a week, you may have GERD. You can also have GERD without having heartburn. Your symptoms could include a dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing.

Anyone, including infants and children, can have GERD. If not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems. In some cases, you might need medicines or surgery. However, many people can improve their symptoms by

  • Avoiding alcohol and spicy, fatty or acidic foods that trigger heartburn
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Not eating close to bedtime
  • Losing weight if needed
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, acid reflux disease, or reflux (in babies and young children) is a chronic symptom of mucosal damage caused by stomach acid coming up from the stomach into the esophagus.

GERD is usually caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, including abnormal relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which normally holds the top of the stomach closed, impaired expulsion of gastric reflux from the esophagus, or a hiatal hernia. These changes may be permanent or temporary.

Treatment is typically via lifestyle changes and medications such as proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor blockers or antacids with or without alginic acid. Surgery may be an option in those who do not improve. In the Western world between 10 and 20% of the population is affected.


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The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.