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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Symptoms: NEET Important Topic

Last updated date: 23rd May 2024
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GERD Symptoms: An Introduction

GERD symptoms are the signs that occur in GER disease and help in the detection of the disease. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a digestive illness in which the stomach contents (chime) flow backward into the oesophagus without vomiting. Heartburn is the most prevalent symptom. Regurgitation in the morning with a sour taste, swallowing disorders, shortness of breath, burping, and pain in the chest are some of the common symptoms. 

What is GERD Disease?

GERD is an illness in which the contents of the stomach (food or fluids) seep backward into the oesophagus. Exposure to stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, and pepsin in reflux material overwhelms the normal esophageal mucosa's defense mechanism. Because of the acid concentration of the reflux matter, the mucosal barrier breaks down, causing an inflammatory response within the oesophagus. This is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is the most common upper GI illness, affecting mostly middle-aged and older people. The result of persistent GER is a chronic, more dangerous condition. Backward movement of stomach contents into the oesophagus causes Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER).

It causes symptoms by stimulating the esophageal mucosa with gastric or duodenal contents, causing inflammation. 

GERD Causes

Excessive relaxation of the lower oesophagus sphincter, which allows gastric contents to reflux into the oesophagus and exposes the esophageal mucosa to acidic gastric content, is the most common cause of GERD.

Overweight or obesity is a risk factor for GERD because it increases intra-abdominal pressure, which contributes to stomach content reflux. Hiatal hernia is a condition that raises the risk of GERD. GERD is also caused by Helicobacter Pylori, which causes gastritis and impaired stomach emptying. Reduced LES pressure permits stomach contents to backflow into the oesophagus, triggering an inflammatory reaction that can become chronic with long-term exposure.

GERD Symptoms

Heartburn, Regurg, and Water Brash (hypersalivation that can occur before vomiting) are some of the typical symptoms of this disease. The most prevalent GERD symptom is heartburn (pyrosis). It's a scorching, tight feeling that starts beneath the lower chest and extends upward to the throat or jaw. Heartburn that occurs only once or twice a week is referred to as episodic heartburn. 

The inflammation of the oesophagus is known as reflux esophagitis. Heartburn (pyrosis), belching, regurgitation, acid brash or hypersalivation (a sour taste or it may taste like bile), and chest pain are common symptoms (non-cardiac in nature). Asthma-like symptoms, chronic cough, laryngitis, hoarseness, and tooth erosion are examples of atypical symptoms.

Dysphagia, weight loss, hematemesis, lymphadenopathy, anaemia, and bleeding are all the "warning symptoms" that a person with GERD should watch out for.

GERD Pain Areas

The stomach acid flows back and damages the oesophagus mucus wall, so the most effective and painful area is the oesophagus. Stomach acid mostly damages it and causes inflammation and pain. The distress in the oesophagus causes heartburn, which is a terrible burning sensation in the centre of the chest induced by stomach acid distress of the esophageal lining. The chest pain feels like it is coming from a heart attack.

GERD Treatments

Clinical symptoms can be used to treat GERD, with the reporting of usual symptoms such as pyrosis being sufficient to diagnose GERD. Patients with warning symptoms or consequences should have an endoscopy. In patients who do not react to acid-suppression therapy, ambulatory pH monitoring is employed. Manometry is used to detect abnormalities in esophageal movement and pressure. Hiatal hernia can be detected with barium radiography, which is not commonly used.

  • Drug Therapy 

Drug therapy is used to cure GERD. There are mainly three types of drugs used, such as antacids, histamine blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). 

  • Antacids

In cases of GERD that are not too complicated, antacids are used (short length of action, increased LES pressure, and nighttime effectiveness is minimal). Antacids work by raising the pH of the stomach contents, which makes pepsin inactive. Magnesium hydroxide and aluminium hydroxide are both useful. The liquid forms are the most popular since they assist with pain reduction.

  • Histamine Receptor Antagonists

Histamine Receptor Antagonists work by blocking histamine receptors. The two most common drugs are famotidine (Pepcid) and ranitidine (Zantac). These medications are both acid-reducing and long-acting. These help to repair the oesophagus and minimise stomach acid secretion. 

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Omeprazole (Prilosec), Rabeprazole (AcipHex), and Pantoprazole (Protonix) are all proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Inhibition by the proton pump of gastric parietal cells, potent, long-acting inhibitors of stomach acid output. These inhibit the production of stomach acid.

Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should all be avoided. There will be no snacking before bed.

Meals that are smaller and more frequent. Mints, heavy meals, citrus, chocolate, and fats should all be avoided. Avoid tight-fitting garments and maintain a loose weight.


GERD disease is a digestive disorder and symptoms are mostly heartburn and bleeding due to esophageal damage. Backward passage of stomach contents into the oesophagus causes the illness known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The esophageal mucosa is harmed by stomach acid. Other esophageal problems such scarring, strictures, and Barrett's oesophagus are brought on by backward reflux. These symptoms help to understand that this disease is happening. Heartburn may result from GERD. Medical testing supported the GERD diagnosis. This article helps to understand the symptoms of GERD and the main cause of this disease. It is helpful for clearing up all doubts regarding GERD symptoms.

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FAQs on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Symptoms: NEET Important Topic

1. Which diagnostic test can identify stomach contents reflux? Biopsy, endoscopy, radionuclide test, and monomeric test.

Gastric reflux is detected using a radionuclide test. The radionuclide test is used to determine the rate of esophageal clearance when there is reflux of stomach content. A radionuclide scan uses a modest dose of a radioactive substance to image bones, organs, and other regions of the body. It is used to detect liver and pancreatic lesions. It is also used to find bleeding or inflammation in the GI system. A biopsy can help doctors distinguish between stomach or esophageal cancer and Barrett's oesophagus. The lower esophageal competence, degree of inflammation, and scarring can all be assessed with an endoscopy. Monomeric tests are used to determine esophageal pressure, as well as the function of the esophageal sphincter and esophageal motility.

2. What happens if you don't treat your GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a serious and chronic type of disease. If left untreated, GERD can become a problem because stomach acid reflux damages the tissue lining the oesophagus because of acid and pepsin hormones and produces inflammation and irritation. Long-term, untreated GERD in adults can result in esophageal damage that is permanent. The oesophagus is a path for food and, if left untreated, makes it difficult to swallow the food. The damage to the oesophagus wall destroys the function and structure of the oesophagus by stomach acid. 

3. How can excessive stomach reflux happen?

Sphincters between the oesophagus and stomach control how food passes from the oesophagus to the stomach. Lower esophageal sphincter, so to say. Due to this exclusive reflux, GERD causes the stomach fluid to flow backward. It may happen as a result of an ineffective lower esophageal sphincter that controls the aperture between the stomach and small intestine thickening, and certain diseases such as pyloric stenosis, hiatal hernia, or a motility problem can impact these sphincters.