Expert Answers
ako6777 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease.  This condition occurs when stomach acids back up into the esophagus.  This backup of acid causes a burning sensation and irritation.

The cause of GERD is when the muscles at the end of the esophagus do not constrict the back flow.  This could be due to a loosening of the muscles, a hiatal hernia, and pregnancy. Obesity, alcohol, and smoking have also been linked to an increase in GERD.

Complications associated with GERD are barrett's esophagus (a change in the lining of the esophagus that can increase the risk of cancer), bronchospasms, chronic cough, hoarseness, dental problems, esophageal ulcers, and  Stricture (a narrowing of the esophagus due to scarring from the inflammation.  

Treatments include avoiding foods that cause heartburn, eating lighter meals, avoiding bending over after eating, stress reduction, and antacids.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

GERD is gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly called "reflux". In GERD the acid in your stomach(HCl, hydrocholric acid) splashes back up the esophagus(tube from your mouth to your stomach). This happens because the GE sphincter at the terminal end of the esophagus is open rather than closed as it should be. When this acid comes back up it causes pain and discomfort. Some describe a burning sensation. People call this heartburn, but the underlying problem is quite serious because over time if left untreated, the acid can wear away at the lining of the esophagus leading to severe bleeding and hemorrhage. Most authorities agree that if you have these symptoms more than twice a week, you should consult your physician. There are numerous medications used to treat this disorder.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

GERD:  Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Basically this disease is characterized by the contents of the stomach coming back up the esophagus.  This is the technical term for perpetual heartburn.

The most common symptoms include heartburn, the feeling that food is not going all the way down (is trapped or stuck somewhere in the chest) and sometimes nausea after eating.

Prevention includes avoiding foods which trigger heartburn and acid reflux.  Spicy or fried foods, alcohol, acid fruits and vegetables and chocolate are common causes.

There are several over the counter medications that can relieve mild symptoms (Tums, Mylanta, Rolaids).  If symptoms are bad enough though, doctors can prescribe stronger medication.

ea111009 | Student

gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or peptic ulcer disease also known as acid reflux.

It’s important to understand that acid reflux is NOT a disease of too much acid being produced, but rather it’s a condition related more commonly to hiatal hernia – a condition in which the acid is coming out of your stomach, where it’s supposed to remain.

After food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or acid to move back up. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow (reflux) backward into your esophagus.

Heartburn is the primary symptom of acid reflux; a burning sensation that radiates up from your stomach to your chest and throat. It’s typically most bothersome at night, and tends to occur in connection with certain activities, such as:

  • After eating a heavy meal
  • Bending over
  • Lifting
  • Lying down, especially when laying on your back

Other symptoms include:

  • Hoarseness
  • A feeling that food is stuck in your throat
  • Tightness in your throat
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma
  • Dental problems
  • Bad breath