Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)
What is Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)?
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (also known as GORD or Reflux) is chronic condition where stomach acid travels up from the stomach into the oesophagus (gullet). This can cause damage to the lining of the oesophagus, which can cause some discomfort.
What causes GORD?
There is a sphincter, a circular muscle, in the lower part of the oesophagus which usually prevents stomach acid travelling back from the stomach into the oesophagus. When this muscle fails to function properly, this can lead to reflux. Furthermore, obesity, pregnancy and a fatty diet can increase the risk of suffering from reflux.
What are the symptoms of GORD?
Heartburn is the most common symptom, which people often describe as a burning sensation in the centre of their chest, along with regurgitation. Other symptoms include pain and or difficulty swallowing, sore throat, increased saliva and nausea.
Eating certain foods can make the reflux worse, such as alcohol, fatty foods and spicy foods. Also lying down straight after eating is likely to lead to an episode of reflux.
How is GORD treated?
If the Reflux is mild to moderate, a change of diet will be attempted first. If this is not effective, certain medication, such as Proton-pump inhibitors and H2 receptor blockers, may be suggested. Severe reflux is treated usually by surgery. The upper part of the stomach will be wrapped around the lower oesophagus to increase the strength of the sphincter. This will help to prevent further acid reflux. Finally, weight loss in people who are overweight and elevating the head of the bed can also help.