Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
Also known as acid reflux, GORD is the regurgitation of acidic fluid from the stomach into the oesophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach), this can inflame the oesophagus and result in heartburn due to oesophagitis.
Mild GORD is frequently seen and is not often serious. It is usually the result of leakage of the lower oesophageal sphincter (the muscular valve between the oesophagus and stomach) which can arise during pregnancy and commonly affects overweight people. However constant episodes of discomfort can indicate hiatus hernia (in which part of the stomach protrudes into the chest). Potential complications of GORD include oesophageal ulcers, oesophageal stricture (narrowing), Barrett’s oesophagus, or unusually, oesophageal cancer.
GORD can be treated with drugs, including proton pump inhibitors, antacids, alginates, or H2-receptor antagonists. If drug treatment is unsuccessful, surgery to tighten the lower oesophageal sphincter or correct a hiatus hernia can be recommended.