Gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn, acid reflux)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn, acid reflux) (Disease)


Reflux is an abnormal backflow of fluid in a body passage due to failure of the passage’s exit to close fully. A common type of reflux is regurgitation of acid fluid from the stomach.

Also sometimes known as acid reflux, Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease,

GORD is regurgitation of acidic fluid from the stomach into the esophagus due to inefficiency of the muscular valve at the lower end of the esophagus. GORD may inflame the esophagus, resulting in heartburn due to oesophagitis.

Causes and Risk factors

It may occur in pregnancy and often affects overweight people. 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 (transient).

The symptoms of uncomplicated GERD are heartburn, regurgitation, and nausea.

Complications of GERD include ulcers and strictures of the esophagus, Barretts esophagus, cough and asthma, throat and laryngeal inflammation, inflammation and infection of the lungs, and collection of fluid in the sinuses and middle ear.

Diagnosis and Treatment

GERD may be diagnosed or evaluated by a trial of treatment, endoscopy, biopsy, X-ray, examination of the throat and larynx, 24 hour esophageal acid testing, esophageal motility testing, emptying studies of the stomach, and esophageal acid perfusion.

GERD is treated with life-style changes, antacids, histamine antagonists (H2 blockers), proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), pro-motility drugs, foam barriers, surgery, and endoscopy. ...