GERD stands for Gastro esophageal reflux disease. GERD describes the movement of acidic stomach contents “backwards” from the stomach to the esophagus. The stomach produces acid to help in digestion of food particles. In GERD the acid refluxes, or travels “backwards” from the stomach to the esophagus which can cause a number of symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, frequent burning, and waterbrash, or acidic or metallic tastes in the mouth.
Reflux all the way up to the throat is often termed laryngopharyngeal reflux. Laryngopharyngeal reflux can cause symptoms such as:
Lump in the throat sensation
Treatment of GERD first revolves around behavioral changes such as weight loss when appropriate and dietary changes. Foods such as soda, tomatoes, oranges, coffee, chocolate, onions and spice should be avoided. To prevent reflux after meals, it is important to wait at least 3 hours after eating before laying down.
Medications are also an important part of reflux management. Proton pump inhibitors decrease the amount of acid production in the stomach.
H2 blockers, or histamine receptor blockers, also help in the management of acid reflux.
Surgical management of reflux disease is based on tightening the valve between the esophagus and stomach. This procedure, a Nissen fundoplication, is performed by general surgeons.