Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach regurgitate to the esophagus. It can cause a burning sensation behind the chest, cough, hoarseness of the voice and other symptoms. On the other hand, it can be asymptomatic.
Chronic reflux can cause inflammation in the esophagus, GERD. In such cases there may be pain or difficulty in swallowing.
People with obesity, hiatal hernia, some autoimmune diseases and smokers have a higher risk of GERD. Reflux is often observed in women during pregnancy.
Gastroscopy is usually done to examine the esophagus in cases of chronic reflux and to rule out more serious complications such as Barrett's esophagus.
Patients with gastroesophageal reflux are now being effectively treated with drugs that suppress acid secretion from the stomach. There are endoscopic and surgical methods of treating gastroesophageal reflux.