Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
This is a common, chronic and relapsing condition which presents with heartburn (a burning sensation behind the breast bone or sternum), regurgitation (liquids or solids rising from stomach into the gullet) or waterbrash (a bitter or metallic taste at the back of the mouth). The underlying problem is due to the movement (reflux) of stomach acid into the gullet and it is more common in middle age and in overweight individuals. Occasionally, the acid may damage the lining of the gullet (oesophagitis), which may vary from mild (patchy inflammation or erosions) to severe (with widespread ulceration and possibly, bleeding or even scarring). Most patients with GORD respond extremely well to treatment with drugs which lower the amount of acid produced by the stomach. These will also heal any acid-induced damage. There are 2 types of acid-lowering drugs: H2-receptor antagonists (such as ranitidine) and proton pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole). For patients that do not respond to drug treatment, an upper gi endoscopy is recommended.