Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition, where acid from the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus (gullet).
It usually occurs as a result of the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus becoming weakened. It may just be an occasional nuisance for some people, but for others it can be a severe, life long problem.
GORD can often be controlled with self-help measures and medication. Occasionally, surgery to correct the problem may be needed.
This topic focuses on GORD in adults. There are separate topics on Reflux in babies and heartburn in pregnancy .
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition, where acid from the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus (gullet). The reflux of the contents of the stomach back into esophagus and mouth, is called gastro-esophageal reflux disease. GORD can often be controlled with self-help measures and medication.
The main symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) are heartburn and acid reflux. Other symptoms can include feeling and being sick, difficulty swallowing, belching and burping, a feeling of a bad taste in the mouth, coughing and a sore throat, during the night the mouth fills with unpleasant fluids, at times gum disease may occur. If you also have asthma , the symptoms may get worse as a result of stomach acid irritating your airways.
Visit your GP if you're worried about your symptoms, or if: You have symptoms several times a week, Over-the-counter medications aren't helping, Your symptoms are severe, You have difficulty swallowing, You have possible signs of a more serious problem, such as persistent vomiting, vomiting blood or unexplained weight loss.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is usually caused by the ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus (gullet) becoming weakened. Normally, this ring of muscle opens to let food into your stomach and closes to stop stomach acid leaking back up into your oesophagus. But for people with GORD, stomach acid is able to pass back up into the oesophagus. This causes symptoms of GORD , which can include heartburn and acid reflux.
The following factors may increase your risk of developing GORD:Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Being overweight orÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â obesity;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Eating large amounts of fatty foods; Smoking, alcohol, coffee or chocolate; Pregnancy;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Hiatus hernia;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Gastroparesis;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Certain medicines;Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Stress.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â GORDÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â can sometimes affect several members of the same family and it's been suggested that the genes you inherit from your parents may also affect your chances of developing the condition.
Your GP will often be able to diagnose gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) based on your symptoms. However, there may be some instances when you're referred for tests in hospital. Diagnosis is usually determined after performing a fibrogastroscopy or a barium swallow X-ray.
A number of treatments are available for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), including simple, self-care measures, medication and surgery. Treatment is conservative, it usually involves lifestyle changes (lowering the intake of fatty foods, eating small, frequent meals, eating several hours in advance of going to sleep, not lying down after consuming food, the usage of a high pillow, losing weight (if overweight), finding ways to relieve stress, etc). Following this advice, the patient is recommended antacids and proton pump inhibitors. Rarely, a surgical intervention may be necessary.
A number of possible complications can occur as a result of having gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) for a long time, including ulcers, and a scarred and narrowed oesophagus. Long-term suffering from GORD leads to chronic exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents. Many patients also exhibit resistance to medication which further leads to damage caused to the mucosa of the esophagus. This refers to a disease called Barret's esophagus.