Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

What is it?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition where acid and/or non-acid products travel high into the esophagus and cause damage to the esophageal lining.  This can cause swelling and redness that may lead to symptoms of burning chest pain related to meals, dysphagia, or globus sensation.  When reflux travels beyond the esophagus and spills onto the larynx, patients are said to have laryngopharyngeal reflux (see “Voice Disorders” section to learn more).

How is it treated?
Gastroesophageal reflux is initially treated with lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes.  Patients may be initiated on acid-lowering medications as well.  Patients may undergo in-office evaluation of the esophagus (trans-nasal esophagoscopy) or special testing of acid levels to help guide therapy.  Ultimately, patients with persistent symptoms and evidence of reflux on examinations may require further evaluation by other specialists.