Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may cause irritation or Reference inflammation Opens New Window in the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. This condition is called Reference esophagitis Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. GERD without esophagitis is sometimes called nonerosive reflux disease.
If you have mild GERD symptoms—an uncomfortable feeling of burning, warmth, heat, or pain just behind the breastbone—you may be able to treat yourself with nonprescription medicines that reduce or block acid.
Advanced GERD can cause complications such as:
- Severe inflammation of the lining of the esophagus (esophagitis), Reference esophageal erosion, and ulcers.
- Narrowing of the esophagus.
- Reference Barrett's esophagus Opens New Window, in which the cells that line the inside of the esophagus are replaced by cells similar to those that line the inside of the stomach and intestine. Barrett's esophagus is not common, but it can lead to cancer of the esophagus.
- Respiratory problems, such as a persistent cough, Reference asthma Opens New Window, Reference pneumonia Opens New Window, and laryngitis.
- The speeding up of Reference tooth decay Opens New Window, because stomach acid gets into the mouth and wears away tooth enamel.
Some people who have GERD may be at increased risk for cancer of the esophagus.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 6, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology