Gastro-oesophageal reflux

This condition is caused by backflow of stomach acid into the gullet. Acid can regurgitate into the upper airwary structures such as the voice box and throat. Symptoms of GORD can include heartburn, a feeling of something stuck in the throat, excessive mucous production and voice changes. About 50% of people are not specifically aware of symptoms. GORD affects 15-20 percent of adults.

The presence of acid in the stomach is required for digestion, and backflow is prevented by a muscular sling which sits between the stomach and gullet. Many things we commonly do affect the function of this sling. These include ingestion of alcohol, caffeinated or carbonated drinks, spicy or acidic foods, some medications, an unhealthy weight, or lying flat after a meal.

The diagnosis can be made based on assessment of your symptoms, as well as your examination. During this process, other causes for your symptoms are evaluated. The fiberoptic scope can usually identify changes in the upper airways which are the result of GORD.

Treatment for GORD is typically based on modifying lifestyle factors and introducing changes which minimize the production pf acid. Medications which suppress acid can also be used. New research shows that dietary modifications in combination with lifestyle changes may be just as effective as medications so are usually trialled first.