Medical Definition of Reflux disease, gastroesophageal (GERD)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Reflux disease, gastroesophageal (GERD): The stomach contents regurgitate and back up (reflux) into the esophagus The food in the stomach is partially digested by stomach acid and enzymes. Normally, the partially digested acid content in the stomach is delivered by the stomach muscle down into the small intestine for further digestion. With esophageal reflux, stomach acid content refluxes back up into the esophagus, occasionally reaching the breathing passages, causing inflammation and damage to the esophagus, as well as to the lung and larynx (the voice box).

10% of patients with GERD develop Barrett's esophagus, a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus. For more information about GERD, please read the GERD article.

Esophagitis illustration - Reflux disease, gastroesphageal (GERD)

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QUESTION

GERD is the back up of stomach acid into the esophagus. See Answer

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018