GORD, GERD, NERD, EER and LPR… there are so many acronyms and buzzwords related to symptoms of reflux, such as heartburn, silent reflux, nausea, ‘wet burps’, coughs and throat clearing, that it’s a little confusing to know what they all mean.

Here we’ll take a look at each acronym or term and explain their relevance to you.

GERD/GORD

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) or Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) are the same thing. The only difference is the vowel – oesophagus being the British variant of the American spelling of esophagus.

GORD or GERD refers to when the stomach contents reflux back up into the oesophagus, characterised by the symptoms of heartburn and regurgitation. GORD/ GERD is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the world with millions suffering from daily reflux episodes. Untreated GORD/GERD can lead to painful inflammation and possible cancer of the oesophagus.

LPR/ EER – aka silent reflux

During reflux, the contents of the stomach may travel all the way up the oesophagus into the back of the throat and into the airways. This is known as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) and results in symptoms, such as hoarseness, voice disorders, chronic coughing and throat clearing.  LPR may also be referred to as extra-esophageal reflux disease (EER) – or, more often, as Silent Reflux, because of its atypical symptoms.

Reflux aspiration is associated with this type of reflux and is when stomach contents are inhaled as an aerosol into the airways causing respiratory symptoms.

NERD

Non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) is a subcategory of gastroesophageal reflux and is very common. It has similar symptoms to GORD/GERD but doesn’t show any signs of injury to the oesophagus during an endoscopy.

Potential explanations for symptoms associated with NERD include microscopic inflammation, stress and sleep disturbance and sustained oesophageal contractions.

Gastrointestinal experts say NERD sufferers are less likely to respond to anti-reflux medication, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and some studies have suggested NERD is caused by a reflux of bile rather than stomach acid.

Refractory GERD/ GORD

Refractory means ‘stubborn or unmanageable’ and is a term used to describe gastro-oesophageal reflux disease that doesn’t respond to PPIs. There are various approaches medical experts take to refractory GORD in adults in order to determine why PPI treatment fails, such as checking proper dosing, metabolism differences or other underlying diseases.

The article ‘Approach to refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults’ provides useful information.

Esophagitis

Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the oesophagus and can be very painful and makes it hard to swallow.