What Is Esophageal Reflux?

What Is Esophageal Reflux?

Reflux means a backward or return flow. Specifically esophageal reflux or gastroesophageal reflux (GER) occurs when your stomach contens come back up into your esophagus (see picture below). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a long-lasting and more serious form of GER. Most people with GERD can manage the discomfort by changing their lifestyle and taking over-the-counter medications.

How GERD occurs in the esophagus

Signs and symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:

  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), usually after eating, which might be worse at night
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
  • Sensation of a lump in your throat

If you have nighttime acid reflux, you might also experience:

  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • New or worsening asthma
  • Disrupted sleep

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