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.
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 classical reflux 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.
FH is short for functional heartburn and is when there are persistent symptoms of reflux with no objective evidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
EER and LPR
In simple terms, extra esophageal reflux (EER) is the primary term and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is part of EER.
The term silent reflux is often used to describe LPR but this can be confusing and misleading as the majority of the symptoms within the term LPR are not silent at all.
The term we are using more and more to describe symptoms above the oesophagus which include all those covered by EER and LPR is AIRWAY REFLUX.
This can include symptoms, such as hoarseness, voice disorders, chronic coughing and throat clearing.
Reflux aspiration is also associated with EER and is when stomach contents are refluxed as an aerosol and then inhaled into the airways causing respiratory symptoms.
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.
The lower esophageal/ oesophageal (LES/ LOS) sphincter is a stomach valve at the bottom of the oesophagus – a ring of muscle that opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent contents flowing back into the oesophagus.
Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the oesophagus and can be very painful and makes it hard to swallow. Heartburn is the main symptom.
An early and objective diagnosis of reflux, such as Peptest provides, opens the door to lifestyle changes, and future treatment. Peptest can also be used after reflux treatments to assess the success or failure of any treatment.