Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, or acid reflux disease is a chronic symptom of mucosal damage caused by stomach acid coming up from the stomach into the esophagus. Informally called heartburn.
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").
Another kind of acid reflux, which causes respiratory and laryngeal signs and symptoms, is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) or "extraesophageal reflux disease" (EERD). Unlike GERD, LPR is unlikely to produce heartburn, and is sometimes called silent reflux.
The most-common symptoms of GERD are:
Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
Less-common symptoms include:
Pain with swallowing (odynophagia)
Increased salivation (also known as water brash)
GERD sometimes causes injury of the esophagus. These injuries may include:
Reflux esophagitis – necrosis of esophageal epithelium causing ulcers near the junction of the stomach and esophagus.
Esophageal strictures – the persistent narrowing of the esophagus caused by reflux-induced inflammation.
Barrett's esophagus – intestinal metaplasia (changes of the epithelial cells from squamous to intestinal columnar epithelium) of the distal esophagus.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma – a rare form of cancer.
Several other atypical symptoms are associated with GERD, but there is good evidence for causation only when they are accompanied by esophageal injury. These symptoms are:
Laryngitis (hoarseness, throat clearing)
Erosion of dental enamel
Sinusitis and damaged teeth
Globus pharingeus and globus hystericus (condition of feeling of choking, foreign object in throat)
Some people have proposed that symptoms such as sinusitis, recurrent ear infections, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are due to GERD; however, a causative role has not been established.Wikipedia's Article on Acid Reflux Disease
A detailed article from Wikipedia on acid reflux disease.Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic's article on GERD.Gastrosource
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