GORD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) is a digestive disorder marked by chronic acid reflux, in which stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus.
GORD is a common condition; roughly 10-15% of the European population suffers from reflux on a weekly or more regular basis. GORD may affect people of all ages, including children.
It’s common to have reflux symptoms now and then, especially after a large meal. If you have acid reflux at least twice a week or mild to extreme symptoms once a week, you have GORD. Consult a gastroenterologist to decide if these are GORD signs (GI). Diagnostic tests should be performed by a gastroenterologist. The most reliable way to assess whether you have GORD is to undergo reflux tests.
Chronic GORD will raise the risk of serious health problems, such as Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer, if diagnosis and treatment are delayed.
Author: Dr. Sarmed Sami MBChB, MRCP, PGCME, PhD
Consultant Gastroenterologist, Founder and Director of Digestive Health UK. https://digestivehealthuk.com/
What are the complaications of GORD?
GORD complications may include the following:
- Oesophageal ulcers are painful sores that develop in the lining of the lower oesophagus. Ulcers will bleed, causing pain and making swallowing difficult.
- Narrowing of the oesophagus can make swallowing difficult. Food feels as though it’s trapped in my chest.
Barrett’s oesophagus is a digestive disease that raises the risk of adenocarcinoma, a form of oesophageal cancer. Barrett’s oesophagus affects 10 to 15% of people with GORD.
Treatment of GORD
Treatment for GORD is determined by the severity of the symptoms: mild, moderate, or extreme. Our physicians will collaborate with you to create a unique care plan and monitor your progress.
Changing Your Way of Life
Lifestyle modifications are the first step in treating mild-to-moderate GORD symptoms. Changes can be suggested by your consultant based on personal factors that could be contributing to your symptoms. GORD symptoms can be reduced by making the following lifestyle changes:
- If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can be difficult.
- Sitting up straighter and changing your posture
- Avoiding clothing that is too tight
Over the counter medicines
Depending on whether or not your oesophagus has been impaired by acid reflux, your doctor can prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medications to treat mild to serious GORD symptoms. The following are examples of over-the-counter medications:
- Antacids: Antacids are a form of medication that helps to neutralise your stomach’s acid content. Aluminium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate, and magnesium trisilicate are among them.
- Alginates are a class of drugs that help protect the lining of the gullet (oesophagus) from stomach acid. Sodium alginate and alginic acid are examples of alginates. They’re used in a variety of antacid brands.
Just a small percentage of people with GORD need surgery. This involves individuals who have serious symptoms, or whose symptoms are not sufficiently relieved by medications, or who refuse to take long-term medications. The following is the normal surgical procedure for GORD:
- The lower oesophagus may be ‘tightened’ with laparoscopic surgery (also known as fundoplication) to prevent acid from leaking up from the stomach. The procedure is normally performed via a ‘keyhole’ incision.
Other surgical procedures for reducing or suppressing gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder are being researched right now. Your choices will be discussed with you by your gastroenterologist at OneWelbeck.