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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

​Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) ​​​is when acid reflux causes bothersome symptoms or damage.


Acid reflux is when the acid that is normally in your stomach backs up into the oesophagus. The oesophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.

When acid reflux causes bothersome symptoms or damage, doctors call it “Gastroesophageal reflux disease” or GERD.


The most common symptoms are:

  • ​Heartburn, which is a hot burning feeling in the chest
  • Sour brash - a taste of acidic regurgitated food or liquid in the mouth.

Other symptoms might include:

  • ​Sensation of a lump or something stuck in the throat (globus sensation)
  • Unexplained chronic cough
  • Trouble swallowing.

Risk factors

Some risk factors include:​

  • Smoking.
  • Overweight and obese.
  • Overeating.
  • Lying down with a full stomach.​


Lifestyle changes can improve GERD symptoms. These include:

  • ​Avoid precipitating food/drink
  • Avoid overeating
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or have had recent weight gain.
  • Avoid lying down after meals, and avoidance of meals 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Raise the head of the bed if there are night-time symptoms

There are a few main types of medicines that can help with the symptoms of acid reflux, such as antacids, histamine blockers and proton pump inhibitors. All of these medicines work by reducing or blocking stomach acid.

Doctor may offer you an Upper Endoscopy if:

  • ​Your symptoms are severe or last a long time
  • You cannot seem to control your symptoms with lifestyle changes and medication.
  • You have had symptoms for many years.

Contributed​ by Gastroenterology & Hepatology