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 occasionalnuisance for some people, but forothers it can bea severe, lifelongproblem.

GORDcan often becontrolled with self-help measures and medication. Occasionally, surgery to correct the problem may be needed.

Thistopic focuses on GORD in adults. There are separate topics on reflux in babiesand heartburn in pregnancy.

This page covers:

Symptoms of GORD

What to do if you have GORD

When to see your GP

Treatments for GORD

Complications of GORD

Symptomsof GORD

Symptoms of GORD can include:

  • heartburn (an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest that often occurs after eating)
  • acid reflux (where stomach acid comes back up into your mouth and causes an unpleasant, sourtaste)
  • oesophagitis(a sore, inflamed oesophagus)
  • bad breath
  • bloating and belching
  • feeling or being sick
  • pain when swallowing and/or difficulty swallowing

Ask your pharmacist for advice on treatments.

Whento see your GP

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 orunexplained weight loss

Your GP will usually be able to diagnose GORD based on your symptoms, although theymay refer youfor some tests.


Treatmentsfor GORD

The main treatments for GORD are:

  • self-help measures this includes eating smaller but more frequent meals, avoiding any foods or drinks that trigger your symptoms, raising the head of your bed, and keeping to a healthy weight
  • over-the-counter medicines ask your pharmacist to recommend anantacidor analginate
  • stronger prescription medicines includingproton-pump inhibitors (PPIs)and H2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs)

You may only need to take medication whenyou experience symptoms, although long-term treatment may be needed if the problem continues.

Surgery to stop stomach acid leakinginto your oesophagus may be recommended if medication isn't helping, or you don't want to take medication on a long-term basis.


Complicationsof GORD

If you have GORD for a long time, stomach acid can damage your oesophagus and cause further problems.

These include:

  • ulcers(sores)on the oesophagus thesemay bleed and make swallowing painful
  • the oesophagus becoming scarred and narrowedthis can make swallowing difficult and may require an operation to correct it
  • changes in the cells lining the oesophagus (Barrett's oesophagus) very occasionally, oesophageal cancercan develop from these cells, so you may need to be closely monitored


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016