Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic disorder in which acid reflux occurs at least two times a week for several weeks. Acid reflux is a condition in which the acidic stomach contents leak back in the food pipe (esophagus) and cause heartburn.
GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weak or relaxed. LES is present between the lower part of the esophagus and the upper part of the stomach. This sphincter works like a valve preventing the food and acid in the stomach from flowing backward up (refluxing) into the esophagus.
Factors that can weaken the LES and cause acid reflux include:
- Increased pressure on the abdomen due to obesity or pregnancy
- Hiatus hernia (a condition in which the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest due to the weakening of the diaphragm)
- Spicy foods, fried or fatty foods, and dairy products
- Certain medicines:
- Calcium channel blockers (medicines that treat high blood pressure)
- Antihistamines (medicines for treating allergic reactions)
- Sedatives (medicines that help put you to sleep)
- Antidepressants (medicines that treat depression)
What are the symptoms of GERD?
If you have GERD, you may experience tasting food or stomach acid in your throat.
How is GERD diagnosed?
The doctor can diagnose simple acid reflux by just taking your medical history and asking for medical complaints. Dietary modifications and a few simple medications are usually sufficient to relieve the condition. If these measures fail to provide relief, your doctor may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and biopsy: A thin, flexible tube with a camera and a light source (endoscope) is inserted into the bowel through the mouth. This helps in visualizing the internal structure of the esophagus and stomach and look for any GERD-related changes. The doctor may cut a small piece from the esophagus or stomach (biopsy) and send it to the laboratory for examination.
- Upper GI series: You will be told to swallow a liquid (barium compound). X-rays of your esophagus and stomach will be taken as the liquid passes through these organs.
- Esophageal pH and impedance monitoring: These are 24-hour monitoring tests that measure the amount of food and acid reflux in your esophagus and check whether your symptoms are correlated with the reflux.
- Bravo wireless esophageal pH monitoring: This is a 48-hour test that measures how much acid and food is refluxed in 48 hours.
- Esophageal manometry: Your healthcare provider inserts a small flexible tube with sensors into your nose to enter your esophagus. The sensors present in the tube measure the strength of the muscles in different parts of your esophagus including the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
GERD (Chronic Acid Reflux). Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17019-gerd-or-acid-reflux-or-heartburn
Top What Causes Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Related Articles
8 Foods and Drinks That Help with Acid RefluxWhat is acid reflux and how can you treat it at home? Learn the top foods and drinks that can ease your symptoms and help you find relief.
Beyond Food: What Triggers Heartburn and GERD?Heartburn is the burning sensation in the chest due to backflow or reflux of the acidic stomach contents into the food pipe (esophagus). Heartburn is a major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Can a Liver Hemangioma Go Away on Its Own?No, liver hemangioma doesn’t go away without treatment. People who have liver hemangioma rarely experience signs and symptoms and typically don't need treatment. They are generally small and even if they become large they may not carry significant risk.
Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)Dexilant (dexlansoprazole) is a prescription medicine called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). Dexilant reduces the amount of acid in your stomach.
GERD PictureThe stomach contents regurgitate and back up (reflux) into the esophagus The food in the stomach is partially digested by stomach acid and enzymes. See a picture of Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) and learn more about the health topic.
GERD (Acid Reflux, Heartburn)GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition in which the acidified liquid contents of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The symptoms of uncomplicated GERD are:
- regurgitation, and
GERD QuizWho is at risk for developing GERD? Are you? Take this quiz to learn what GERD is, if you're at risk, and what you can do about it.
GERD and GER (Acid Reflux) in Infants and ChildrenGERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is the upward movement of stomach content, including acid, into the esophagus and sometimes into or out of the mouth. Common symptoms of GERD in children include colic, feeding problems, poor growth, frequent vomiting or coughing, heartburn, regurgitation, recurrent wheezing, pneumonia, choking, or gagging. Treatment may involve elevating the child's bed, keeping the child upright after eating, limiting foods that seem to make the reflux worse, encouraging your child to exercise, and serving several small meals a day.
Heartburn Causes, Symptoms and RemediesHeartburn is a symptom of acid reflux that causes chest pain when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Heartburn symptoms may mimic chest pain that occurs during a heart attack. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may produce other symptoms.
Is Barrett's Esophagus Serious?Barrett’s esophagus is a serious medical condition in which the inner lining of the food pipe (esophagus) is damaged due to acid reflux. People with chronic and untreated GERD have a high risk of Barrett's esophagus.
Protonix IV (pantoprazole sodium)Protonix IV (pantoprazole sodium) is a prescription medicine called a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) used to treat the symptoms of Erosive Esophagitis associated with GERD, short-term treatment of GERD, and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. Protonix IV may be used alone or with other medications. Side effects of Protonix IV include unusually fast, slow or irregular heartbeat, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramping, fever, blood or mucus in your stool, rash, itching, swelling of the face, tongue and throat, severe dizziness, trouble breathing, and changes in the amount of urine.
Ways to Relieve Acid Reflux (GERD, Heartburn)Most people have experienced some sort of pain or discomfort following a large meal or a particular food that didn’t quite agree with their stomach. Acid reflux symptoms can happen without a specific underlying condition.
What Are the Best Foods To Eat If You Have GERD?What is GERD, and how can you manage it? Learn more about this condition and how making diet and lifestyle changes can play an important role in treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of GERD in Adults?Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is when stomach acid, food, and fluids move up from the stomach to the esophagus. Learn more about GERD, its common symptoms, how it's diagnosed, and your treatment options.
What Can Heartburn Be a Sign of?Heartburn symptoms may indicate a bigger health concern. Learn more about heartburn, heartburn symptoms, heartburn related to other health conditions, how it's diagnosed, and your treatment options for heartburn.