Reflux oesophagitis, also known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), is inflammation caused by regurgitation of the acid contents of the stomach into the esophagus. A mild degree of reflux experienced episodically (say after a large meal) is a normal physiological condition and reflux is only a problem when it causes symptoms or other medical disease.
Reflux can cause:
- Discomfort (heartburn)
- Regurgitation (vomit-like taste in the mouth)
- Strictures or scarring of oesophagus (especially young children).
- Barrett Oesophagus (sometimes referred to as Barrett's Disease) or dysplasia (a pre-cancerous condition).
Biopsies can be peformed during gastroscopy and these may show:
- Oedema and basal hyperplasia (non-specific inflammatory changes)
- Lymphocytic inflammation (non-specific)
- Neutrophilic inflammation (usually either reflux or Helicobacter gastritis)
- Eosinophilic inflammation (usually reflux)
- Goblet cell intestinal metaplasia or Barretts oesophagus.
- Dysplasia or pre-cancer.