Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn, other symptoms include upper abdominal pain and chest pain.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common disorder of the upper gastrointestinal tract. It is caused by a prolonged presence of acid-containing liquid from the stomach within the esophagus. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest behind the breast bone, often experienced after meals. Other symptoms include upper abdominal pain, chest pain which sometimes can mimic a heart attack, excessive burping, and acid taste in the mouth. Stomach acid may spill from upper esophagus into the upper respiratory tract and cause a hoarse voice, chronic cough, asthma-like symptoms, and sore throat. Serious consequences of prolonged GERD include Barrett’s esophagus, severe inflammation of esophagus (esophagitis), esophageal ulcers, esophageal stricture (narrowing of the esophagus and subsequent difficulties with swallowing), and even esophageal cancer. For detailed description of GERD and associated complications as well as methods used to diagnose and treat GERD please click on the links to patient-oriented sites of the American Gastroenterology Association and the American College of Gastroenterology.