U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Adults

Definition and Facts of GER and GERD
​Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when your stomach contents come back up into your esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a long-lasting and more serious form of GER.​​​
Symptoms and Causes of GER and GERD
The most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is persistent heartburn. GERD happens when your lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t.
Diagnosis of GER and GERD
Your doctor diagnoses gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by reviewing your symptoms and medical history. If your symptoms don’t improve with lifestyle changes and medication, you may need testing.​​
Treatment for GER and GERD
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may include lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery.​
Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for GER and GERD
You can reduce your gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms by changing your diet and avoiding foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse.​
Clinical Trials for GER and GERD
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders.​​
Your Digestive System and How It Works The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract-also called the digestive tract-and the liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus.
Additional LanguagesThis content is also available in:

This content is provided 
as a service of the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). Content produced by the Clearinghouse is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and outside experts.​