South African Family Practice

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Heartburn, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and non-erosive reflux disease

Haley Smith


Reflux is a normal process that occurs in healthy infants, children and adults. Most episodes are short-lived and do not cause bothersome symptoms of complications. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) develops when the reflux of stomach acid causes troublesome reflux-associated symptoms and/or complications. The most common symptom of GORD is heartburn. Depending on how severe the symptoms of GORD are, treatment may involve one or more of the following: lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery. Acid suppressive medications include, in increasing order of potency, over-the-counter antacids, alginates and H2 antagonists at non-prescription strength, prescription strength H2 antagonists and proton pump inhibitors. In patients with mild to moderate GORD, symptom severity and previous treatments can guide the selection of an initial acid suppressive regimen. The most common and effective treatment of oesophagitis and GORD is to reduce gastric acid secretion with a proton
pump inhibitor.

Keywords: Non-erosive reflux disease, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, proton pump inhibitor

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