acid reflux

What Are The Symptoms and Causes of GERD?

GERD is the short name for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, a condition where part of the contents of the stomach flows back into the oesophagus which results in a set of unwanted symptoms, and can result in serious side effects. GERD is a serious condition and it can cause significant impact to a person’s daily life, as well as pain and discomfort. There are many signs and symptoms of GERD, as well as many causes. Here we look a little closer at this condition.

What are the Symptoms of GERD?

The most common symptom of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is heartburn. Heartburn is a pain or burning sensation that originates in the upper abdomen or the lower chest, and which may travel up and down the chest region. In addition, other symptoms of GERD include fluid regurgitation into the oesophagus as well as difficulty swallowing, which is also called dysphagia. Sometimes the reflux may enter the mouth, causing unpleasant consequences. Secondary symptoms associated with GERD include sore throat and hoarseness, excessive clearing of the throat, coughing and wheezing, and sometimes asthma. Because these symptoms are also present in other conditions it can be hard to identify GERD when it occurs.

What are the Causes of GERD?

The reason GERD happens is due to a failure in the mechanics of the lower oesophageal sphincter. This sphincter is the muscle band that encloses the opening of the oesophagus as it meets the stomach, and it is a valve that prevents contents from the stomach entering the oesophagus. When it is working properly, the valve opens when you swallow so the food can go from the oesophagus to the stomach. And it closes again so that there is a barrier between the two. When you have GERD the valve does not close properly after swallowing, which results in a reflux of the contents of the stomach into the oesophagus.

Why GERD Happens

In many cases there is no obvious reason why GERD develops. Sometimes the valve is naturally weak and over time becomes less stable. The structures attached to the valve such as the diaphragm and the oesophagus may not be properly aligned with the valve. Or there could be a lifestyle factor affecting the risk of getting GERD. For example it is more likely that a person will suffer from GERD if they are obese, they smoke, there is a history of high alcohol use, or the person consumes a high fat diet.

Fortunately there are options for GERD treatment including surgical treatment. When you are looking for anti reflux surgery London provides many experts, including those at the, to treat GERD and return a patient to normal functioning.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

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