GORD is a chronic (long-term) condition involving frequent acid reflux - stomach acid escaping into your oesophagus (food pipe) and flowing towards your mouth, which irritates the lining of your gullet.
Acid reflux and heartburn are common in one in three adults from time to time. However, if you’re experiencing mild heartburn at least twice a week or severe heartburn at least once a week, you may have GORD.
Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter heartburn relief can help relieve GORD. However, if your symptoms are severe and affecting your quality of life, you may need medical treatment or surgery.
The main symptom of GORD is heartburn – often after eating or at night – but other common symptoms are:
Seek medical attention immediately if you have very painful heartburn accompanied by any of the following symptoms, as it could mean a heart attack:
Your GP will discuss your symptoms and examine your stomach. To confirm a diagnosis of GORD, and rule out conditions with similar symptoms, your GP may refer you for tests including:
In some cases your GP may refer you to a gastroenterologist, a consultant specialising in the digestive system.
GORD often occurs for no obvious reason, although it can be made worse by certain foods and drinks, smoking and some medications. It can also be due to:
To help relieve and prevent acid reflux, you should:
Over-the-counter antacids may successfully relieve your symptoms, but you shouldn’t use them on a long-term basis.
Your doctor may prescribe a short course of proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) medication to reduce the amount of acid produced. As well as reducing your acid reflux symptoms, this will help repair the damaged lining of your oesophagus.
If lifestyle changes and medication are unsuccessful, or your symptoms are very severe, your doctor might suggest surgery. The two main surgical procedures for GORD are: