- News Releases
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common digestive disorders in the world.
It happens when acid comes up from the stomach, which is acid-resistant, into the esophagus, which is less acid-resistant.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:08) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
Heartburn — it's the cardinal symptom of GERD.
"GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is when you get acid and chemical damage to the lining of the esophagus," says Dr. East.
You might feel a lump in the throat, have difficulty swallowing, have chest pain, a cough, or have worsening asthma-type symptoms.
"Complications of GERD include esophagitis, inflammation in the bottom of the esophagus," says Dr. East, " If this is persistent, you can develop scarring and a stricture."
But if it's persistent and heals, the lining of the esophagus can change to a more acid-resistant form, which is Barrett's esophagus.
"Barrett's esophagus is a reasonably common complication of GERD," he says.
It affects 10% to 15% of people with GERD. And a much smaller group faces another risk, says Dr. East.
"About 1 in 200 patients with Barrett's esophagus per year will develop esophageal adenocarcinoma."
"If you have severe or frequent GERD, you should seek medical advice," advises Dr. East.
For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.