Gastroesophageal reflux disease

What is Gastroesophageal reflux disease?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic digestive disease in which the acid or content of the stomach flows back into the esophagus, commonly known as the food pipe. This backward flow or reflux causes irritations in the lining of esophagus, thereby leading to gastro esophageal reflux disease. It is possible to reduce mild forms of gastro esophageal reflux disease by adopting changes in lifestyle and taking medications. If the condition is complicated, you might need stronger drugs or even surgery so as to reduce symptoms.

When you swallow food, the lower esophageal muscle called sphincter relaxes to allow food inside the esophagus and closes after you eat. This muscle acts like a valve. If this valve gets weakened or if the relaxation pattern turns abnormal, the acids of the stomach like bile juice can flow back into your esophagus, causing frequent heartburns.


This disease give us some important symptoms to note, and to go about its smooth treatment. The signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease include:

  • Heartburn – A burning sensation from the chest to the throat.
  • Sour taste in the mouth.
  • Chest pain.
  • Dysphagia – Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Dry cough.
  • Hoarseness or sore throat.
  • Acid reflux – Regurgitation of acid or sour liquid.
  • Regurgitation of food.
  • Sensation of lump in the throat.


The possible causes for gastroesophageal reflux disease are:

  • Obesity.
  • Asthma.
  • Diabetes.
  • Delayed stomach emptying.
  • Connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma.
  • Hiatal hernia - Bulging of top of stomach up into the diaphragm.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Smoking.
  • Dry mouth.


The prime risk factors include:

  • Smoking.
  • Asthma.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Dry mouth and delayed stomach emptying.


To prevent the disease from occurring, one should take care of certain things like:

  • Eating lighter meals.
  • Losing weight.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Not lying down for at least 3 hours after eating.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, your doctor may use the following methods to diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease: 


How is it treated?

The expert doctors at Medanta use several methods to treat this disease:


  • Antacids

    Antacids are used by the specialist to neutralize acid production in the stomach

  • Nissen fundoplication

    This is a surgery to reinforce the lower esophageal sphincter. It is achieved by tightening the valve of the esophagus using three or four minor cuts in the abdomen and inserting a flexible tube with a camera for laparoscopy. 

  • Linx

     This is a surgery to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter using a ring of tiny magnetic titanium beads wrapped around the junction of stomach and esophagus. The strength of the magnets is sufficient enough to keep the valve closed for acids, but allowing food to pass. This can be implemented using minimally invasive surgical procedures. Linx is a new method and is under approval process.

When to contact a doctor?

If you experience weight loss, chronic cough, sweating, irregular pulse, asthma, or frequent heartburn symptoms, you should immediately consult your doctor. Unusual stomach pain that might also probe you to see your doctor at short notice.

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