Acid reflux (GORD)

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a common condition where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the oesophagus (gullet).

Symptoms of GORD include:

  • heartburn – burning chest pain or discomfort that occurs after eating
  • an unpleasant sour taste in the mouth caused by the stomach acid coming back up into the mouth (this is known as regurgitation)
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

The symptoms of GORD can range from mild to severe.

GORD is a very common digestive condition. It is estimated that around 1 in 5 people will have at least one episode of GORD a week.

GORD can affect people of all ages, including children. The condition is twice as common in men as it is in women.

Known risk factors for GORD include:

  • being overweight or obese
  • being pregnant
  • eating a high-fat diet

Common symptoms

The three most common symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) are:

  • heartburn
  • regurgitation of acid into your throat and mouth
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

These symptoms are discussed in more detail below.


Heartburn is a burning pain or a feeling of discomfort that develops just below your breastbone. The pain is usually worse after eating or when bending over or lying down.


Regurgitation of acid usually causes an unpleasant, sour taste at the top of your throat or the back of your mouth.


Around 1 in 3 people with GORD has problems swallowing (dysphagia). It can occur if the stomach acid causes scarring of the oesophagus, which leads to the oesophagus narrowing and making it difficult to swallow food.

People with GORD-associated dysphagia say it feels like a piece of food has become stuck somewhere near their breastbone.