Welcome to Chronic Acid Reflux Disease
Chronic Acid Reflux Disease web site is about Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as "GERD" (sometimes called heartburn) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and stomach contents leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach. The esophagus carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
Is This Information about Chronic Acid Reflux Right for You?
- A doctor said that you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic disease that causes ongoing pain and burning in the chest and throat (heartburn). GERD is also called “acid reflux disease.”
- You want to know what research says about your options.
- You sometimes have heartburn or acid reflux, but a doctor has not said that it is GERD.
- You are under 18. This information is from research on adults.
Occasional heartburn or mild acid reflux is common. Just because you have heartburn does not mean you have GERD. GERD is a more serious form of acid reflux with severe symptoms that happen often and over a long time. Your doctor can tell you if you have GERD.
What does this Chronic Acid Reflux Summary cover?
This summary describes GERD and explains research about types of treatment. It also talks about what research has found about the benefits and risks of each treatment. It can help you talk with your doctor about GERD.
Where does the Chronic Acid Reflux information come from?
Researchers funded by the Agency for Health care Research and Quality (AHRQ), a Federal government research agency, reviewed 166 research studies on GERD. The report was reviewed by clinicians, researchers, and the public. You can read the report at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/gerdupdate.cfm.
Understanding Your Condition
What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
GERD is an ongoing condition in which the contents of the stomach come back into the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach). Doctors call this “acid reflux.”
There are several reasons why people have GERD. One possible reason has to do with the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus. Normally, this muscle closes to keep food and stomach acid from coming back up the esophagus. In some people with GERD this muscle does not always work right.
- GERD often causes heartburn, a burning feeling in the chest and throat. Heartburn may happen many times a week, especially after eating or at night.
- GERD can also cause you to cough or have asthma symptoms. It can also make your voice sound hoarse and raspy. These symptoms can happen even if you do not have heartburn. The acid may also leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
How common is GERD?
- GERD is one of the most common health problems for adults.
What else should I know about GERD?
- Your heartburn may keep coming back if not treated.
- Untreated GERD can cause serious health problems. The acid can damage your esophagus and make it hard to swallow.
- In some people with GERD, the cells in the esophagus can become abnormal. These abnormal cells could lead to cancer of the esophagus, although this is rare.