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Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the oesophagus (gullet).
Symptoms of GORD include:
- heartburn – burning chest pain or discomfort that occurs after eating
- an unpleasant sour taste in the mouth caused by the stomach acid coming back up into the mouth (this is known as regurgitation)
- difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
The symptoms of GORD can range from mild to severe.
Lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS)
It is thought that GORD is caused by a combination of factors. The most important factor is a muscle called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) not working properly.
The LOS acts like a valve. It opens to let food fall into the stomach, and closes to prevent acid leaking out of the stomach and into the oesophagus. In cases of GORD, the LOS does not close properly. It allows acid to leak up out of the stomach.
How common is GORD?
GORD is a very common digestive condition. It is estimated that around 1 in 5 people will have at least one episode of GORD a week.
GORD can affect people of all ages, including children. The condition is twice as common in men as it is in women.
Known risk factors for GORD include:
- being overweight or obese
- being pregnant
- eating a high-fat diet
The outlook for GORD is generally good, and most people respond well to treatment with medication.
However, relapses are common. Around half of people experience a return of symptoms after a year. As a result, some people may need a long-term course of medication to control their symptoms.
A small number of people with GORD do not respond to medication and need surgery to treat their symptoms.
More serious cases of GORD can trigger a range of complications, such as:
- oesophageal ulcers (open sores that develop in the lining of the oesophagus)
- bleeding of the oesophagus
- mouth-related problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath
Video of the surgical procedure.