Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a very common disorder. Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and the esophagus. Reflux refers to the back-flow of acidic or non-acidic stomach contents into the esophagus.
GERD is characterized by symptoms, with or without tissue damage, that result from repeated or prolonged exposure of the lining of the esophagus to acidic or non-acidic contents from the stomach. If tissue damage is present, the individual is said to have esophagitis or erosive GERD. The presence of symptoms with no evident tissue damage is referred to as non-erosive GERD.
GERD is often accompanied by symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation of acid. But sometimes there are no apparent symptoms, and the presence of GERD is revealed only when complications become evident.
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