gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or more commonly known as GORD, is a disorder of the digestive system that affects the oesophageal sphincter and the muscle at the junction of the stomach and oesophagus. Most individuals, including pregnant women and obese people, suffer from acid indigestion or heartburn caused by GORD. In most cases, this condition can be relieved through lifestyle changes and diet; however, some individuals may require medication or surgery.


Common symptoms and signs of GORD include:

  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn (a burning sensation in your chest)
  • Dysphagia (Difficulty swallowing)
  • Regurgitation of food or liquid
  • A chronic cough
  • Disrupted sleep


GORD can occur in people of all ages. In short, it is a disorder that occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter becomes weak and remain open when it should not. It most commonly affects:

  • Overweight or obese people because of increased abdominal pressure
  • Pregnant women, due to the same phenomenon of increased abdominal pressure
  • certain food and drink – such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and fatty or spicy foods
  • Smoking, and being exposed to second-hand smoke
  • Excessive use of medicine, including some asthma medications, sedatives, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants and antihistamines


Anyone who is experiencing heartburn and frequent chest pain should talk to their doctor, who may refer them to a gastroenterologist for further investigation. There are multiple non-invasive as well as invasive tests to diagnose GORD, including:
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (Gastroscopy): Visualisation of the lower end of the oesophagus by an endoscope.
Upper GI series: A series of X-ray to find certain physical abnormalities that might be a cause of GORD.
Oesophageal pH monitoring: This is the measurement of the amount of acid in the oesophagus.
Oesophageal manometry: A test that measures muscle contractions and the strength of the oesophageal sphincter during swallowing.


Diet and lifestyle changes are the first line treatment. If it fails, GERD is treated with specific medications before attempting other lines of treatment. The medicines include:

  • omeprazole
  • lansoprazole
  • ranitidine
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • H2 blockers
  • Antacids
  • Prokinetics
  • Erythromycin
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other healthcare professional. ALWAYS check with your doctor if you have any concerns about your condition or treatment.