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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Reflux of stomach contents with symptoms and/or complications from the reflux.

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(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

What is gastroesophageal reflux disease?

GERD is an ongoing condition in which the contents of the stomach come back into the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach). Doctors call this "acid reflux."

There are several reasons why people have GERD. One possible reason has to do with the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus. Normally this muscle closes to keep food and stomach acid from coming back up the esophagus. In some people with GERD this muscle does not always work right.

  • GERD often causes heartburn, a burning feeling in the chest and throat. Heartburn may happen many times a week, especially after eating or at night.
  • GERD can also cause you to cough or have asthma symptoms. It can also make your voice sound hoarse and raspy. These symptoms can happen even if you do not have heartburn. The acid may also leave a bitter taste in your mouth...

Read more about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Transesophageal endoscopic treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease

Bibliographic details: Mark D.  Transesophageal endoscopic treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Chicago, IL, USA: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Technology Evaluation Center. TEC Assessment Program; 18(20). 200415241901

Meta analysis of robotic Nissen fundoplication for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease

Bibliographic details: Fan YG, Yao GL, Liu KF.  Meta analysis of robotic Nissen fundoplication for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Chinese Journal of Tissue Engineering Research 2012; 16(44): 8240-8245 Available from: http://www.crter.org/CN/10.3969/j.issn.2095-4344.2012.44.014

Non‐nutritive sucking for gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease in preterm and low birth weight infants

Gastro‐oesophageal reflux is the passage of the contents of the stomach into the oesophagus (feeding tube) with or without vomiting. It is relatively common in preterm infants and can sometimes lead to troublesome complications. Non‐nutritive sucking is sucking on a dummy (pacifier) before, during, or after feeding by tube; before or after a bottle/breast feed; or outside of feeding times. It has been proposed as a way to reduce gastro‐oesophageal disease in preterm infants.

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Summaries for consumers

Non‐nutritive sucking for gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease in preterm and low birth weight infants

Gastro‐oesophageal reflux is the passage of the contents of the stomach into the oesophagus (feeding tube) with or without vomiting. It is relatively common in preterm infants and can sometimes lead to troublesome complications. Non‐nutritive sucking is sucking on a dummy (pacifier) before, during, or after feeding by tube; before or after a bottle/breast feed; or outside of feeding times. It has been proposed as a way to reduce gastro‐oesophageal disease in preterm infants.

Continuous versus intermittent bolus feeding for gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease

Preterm and low birth weight infants are often unable to be fed orally because they cannot suck and swallow effectively. Therefore, they need to be fed via a tube placed into the stomach (intragastric). Tube feeding can be given by the intermittent bolus method, whereby milk is given over a short time (15 to 30 minutes), or by the continuous feeding method, by which milk is given over several hours. It is unclear which method is better for reducing reflux of milk into the oesophagus. We found no randomised controlled trials and therefore recommend that well‐designed randomised trials be conducted to conclusively prove which method is more appropriate.

Gastro‐oesophageal reflux treatment for prolonged non‐specific cough in children and adults

Cough in association with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is common in adults with chronic cough. The objective of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of GORD treatment in children and adults with GORD and prolonged cough that is not related to an underlying respiratory disease, i.e. non‐specific chronic cough.

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Terms to know

Anti-Reflux Surgery
Surgery to assist in correcting a problem with the muscles at the bottom of the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).
Dyspepsia (Indigestion)
An uncomfortable, often painful feeling in the stomach, resulting from impaired digestion. Symptoms include burning stomach pain, bloating, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
Esophageal Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux)
The backward flow of stomach acid contents into the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach).
Esophagus
The muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.
Fundoplication
In a fundoplication, the gastric fundus (upper part) of the stomach is wrapped around the lower end of the esophagus and stitched in place.
Intestinal Gas
Gas or air in the gastrointestinal tract.
Lower Esophageal Sphincter
The muscle between the esophagus and stomach. When a person swallows, this muscle relaxes to let food pass from the esophagus to the stomach. It stays closed at other times to keep stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus.
Pyrosis (Heartburn)
A painful, burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus.
Stomach
An organ that is part of the digestive system. The stomach helps digest food by mixing it with digestive juices and churning it into a thin liquid.

More about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Photo of an adult

Also called: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, Gastrooesophageal reflux disease, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, Acid reflux disease, GORD

Other terms to know: See all 9
Anti-Reflux Surgery, Dyspepsia (Indigestion), Esophageal Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux)

Related articles:
Heartburn and GERD: Overview

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