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Acid Reflux (GER & GERD) in Adults

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Definition & Facts

​Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when your stomach contents come back up into your esophagus causing heartburn (also called acid reflux). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a long-lasting and more serious form of GER.​​​

Symptoms & Causes

The most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is persistent heartburn, also called acid reflux. GERD happens when your lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t.

Diagnosis

Your doctor diagnoses gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by reviewing your symptoms and medical history. If your heartburn or other symptoms don’t improve with lifestyle changes and medication, you may need testing.​​

Treatment

Depending on the severity of your heartburn and other symptoms, treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may include lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery.​

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

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

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 & 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.

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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.