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Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is a common condition in which the gastric contents move up into the esophagus. Reflux becomes a disease when it causes frequent or severe symptoms or injury. Reflux may damage the esophagus, pharynx or respiratory tract.
GERD often occurs in patients with a weak lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that is part of the anti-reflux barrier.
GERD: What You Need to Know
- There is a difference between GERD and heartburn. Only a gastroenterologist can determine if you have GERD.
- Diagnostic procedures such as endoscopy and motility studies may be performed to better understand the causes of your GERD.
- There are a variety of treatments for GERD, including medications, minimally invasive endoscopic surgery and surgery.
- Barrett’s esophagus develops in about 10 to 20 percent of patients with chronic GERD. Your doctor will want to control your GERD in order to minimize your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus.
More than 20 percent of the population experiences reflux once a week; more than 50 percent experience it once a year. It is generally not life threatening. Common complications of reflux include esophagitis, esophageal strictures and Barrett’s esophagus.
Read a more in-depth article about GERD, written by Johns Hopkins gastroenterologists, written by Johns Hopkins gastroenterologists, which details the anatomical description of the causes of GERD.
Read our FAQs about GERD.
Why choose Johns Hopkins Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
Noninvasive and painless, the Wireless Motility Capsule provides data that can help treat your GERD.Learn more about the Wireless Motility Capsule.
Our Patient Education
Managing heartburn symptoms can alleviate symptoms and prevent more serious complications.Learn more about managing heartburn symptoms.
Heartburn | Q&A
Ellen Stein, M.D., discusses heartburn and how to treat it, in addition to lifestyle changes that can help relieve symptoms.