Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition, where acid from the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus (gullet). The throat communicates with the nasal passages. In small children, two patches of lymph tissue, called the adenoids , are located where the upper part of the throat joins the nasal passages. The passages from the sinuses and the tubes from the middle ears (Eustachian tubes) open into the rear of the nasal passages near the adenoids. Refluxed liquid that enters the upper throat can inflame the adenoids and cause them to swell. The swollen adenoids then can block the passages from the sinuses and the Eustachian tubes. When the sinuses and middle ears are closed off from the nasal passages by the swelling of the adenoids, fluid accumulates within them. This accumulation of fluid can lead to discomfort in the sinuses and ears. Since the adenoids are prominent in young children, and not in adults, this fluid accumulation in the ears and sinuses is seen in children and not adults.
There are problems with this approach For instance, patients who have conditions that can mimic GERD, specifically duodenal or gastric (stomach) ulcers, also can actually respond to such treatment. In this situation, if the physician assumes that the problem is GERD, the like it cause of the ulcer disease would be missed such as a type of infection called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS (for example, ibuprofen ), can also cause ulcers and these conditions would be treated differently from GERD.
GERD is a chronic condition. Once it begins, it usually is life-long. If there is injury to the lining of the esophagus (esophagitis), this also is a chronic condition. Moreover, after the esophagus has healed with treatment and treatment is stopped, the injury will return in most patients within a few months. Once treatment for GERD is begun it will need to be continued indefinitely although. However, some patients with intermittent symptoms and no esophagitis can be treated only during symptomatic periods.
Repeated damage to the oesophagus by stomach acid can also cause it to become scarred and narrowed. Although GERD may cause cough , it is not a common cause of unexplained coughing. Although GERD also may be a cause of asthma , it is more likely that it precipitates asthmatic attacks in patients who already have asthma. Although chronic cough and asthma are common ailments, it is not clear just how often they are aggravated or caused by GERD. A small number of people with GERD may need surgery because of severe reflux and poor response to medical treatment. However, surgery should not be considered until all other measures have been tried. Fundoplication is a surgical procedure that increases pressure in the lower esophagus. Endoscopic procedures that involve making the LES function better or using electrodes to promote scarring of the LES are newer options in treatment.