Home > Health A – Z > Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

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

PubMed Health Glossary
(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

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.

See all (166)

Summaries for consumers

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.

Feed thickener for newborn infants with gastro‐oesophageal reflux

There is no current evidence from randomised trials to show that adding feed thickeners to milk for newborn infants is effective in treating gastro‐oesophageal reflux. Many newborn babies (in the first four weeks of life) suffer from gastro‐oesophageal reflux, especially if they are born premature. Thickening the milk feed is a simple manoeuvre and commonly used as first line treatment for gastro‐oesophageal reflux. Thickening the feeds can be used with or without other treatments such as positioning babies on their stomach or side, and using medications that suppress acid in the stomach or cause food to move more rapidly through the stomach. No randomised controlled studies of sufficient quality were found in this review. Therefore, there is no current evidence to support or refute the use of feed thickeners in treating newborn babies with gastro‐oesophageal reflux.

Gastro‐oesophageal reflux treatment for asthma in adults and children

People with asthma also often have gastro‐oesophageal reflux (where acid from the stomach comes back up the gullet (esophagus)). Reflux is very common in people with asthma. It may be a trigger for asthma, or alternatively, asthma may trigger reflux. Treatments that can help reflux include antacids and drugs to suppress stomach acids or empty the stomach. This review of trials found that using reflux treatments does not generally help ease asthma symptoms. While asthma may be improved in some people, it was not possible to predict who might benefit.

See all (22)

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.
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 8
Anti-Reflux Surgery, Dyspepsia (Indigestion), Esophageal Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux)

Related articles:
Heartburn and GERD: Overview

Keep up with systematic reviews on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:

Create RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...