Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) describes the condition where contents of the stomach, including stomach acid, leak back into the esophagus, irritating and even damaging the lining of the esophagus.

Food and liquids are carried along the esophagus from the mouth to the stomach. The lower esophageal sphincter muscle, situated at the end of the esophagus, normally closes off the stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux happens when this muscle does not close well allowing stomach contents to re-enter the esophagus.

Symptoms of GERD include heartburn or a burning sensation in the chest, a feeling that food is stuck, nausea after eating, difficulty swallowing and hiccups. Experiencing these symptoms several times in a week can indicate you may have GERD. Causes include hiatal hernia, obesity, and conditions that cause an excess of stomach acid.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can affect anyone including children and babies. Treatment options include prevention through lifestyle changes such as

  • avoiding substances that irritate (alcohol, caffeine, nicotine)
  • avoiding spicy, acidic, rich or fatty foods
  • avoiding drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • sleeping with the upper body and head raised (so the esophagus is higher than the stomach)
  • losing weight

Medications may also be prescribed to treat the symptoms of GERD. The standard surgical treatment for Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is Nissen fundoplication.

Click here for insights into this condition from a GERD Specialist in Singapore.

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