GORD – its symptoms and causes

A proven association between certain foodstuffs and acid reflux is the key to discovering what causes GORD

AlliApp Health Team Apr 25 · 3 mins read

GORD is an acronym that stands for Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease. It is a chronic condition which produces severe acid reflux.  ‘Oesophageal’ refers to the oesophagus: As it is spelt esophagus in American-English, the condition is called GERD in countries that use American-English spelling.

The oesophagus connects the throat to the stomach. The lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) prevents food and stomach acid moving from the stomach back into the oesophagus. If the LOS is damaged or weakened, acid reflux into the oesophagus can cause heartburn and other unpleasant symptoms.

Symptoms of GORD

  • ‘Heartburn’ or burning sensations in the chest or stomach
  • Burping and bloating
  • Hiccups
  • A sore throat
  • A dry cough
  • Vomiting due to acid regurgitation

GORD and pregnancy

For many women, pregnancy brings on acid reflux with differing levels of severity, though the condition will clear up once the pregnancy is over.

GORD and food

Foods directly affect the frequency and severity of acid reflux in susceptible individuals. However, what causes GORD is not uniform, as different foods have different effects on different people. In order to help your health provider find out what is causing your reflux, you will need to keep a careful note of what, and when, you eat. There are some common GORD-causing foods:

Likely food-triggers of acid reflux and GORD

1) Fatty Foods

  • Fried foods
  • Fried snacks eg crisps
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Visible fat, like bacon rind
  • Creamy deserts

2) Citrus Fruits

  • Grapefruits, limes, lemons, oranges
  • Less common citrus fruits as listed here

3) Tomatoes

  • Fresh tomatoes, raw or cooked
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Tomato sauces eg in spaghetti bolognese or chilli
  • Tomato pastes (eg on pizza)
  • Ketchup
  • Tomato juice

4) Pineapple

  • Fresh pineapple
  • Canned pineapple
  • Pineapple juice

5) Garlic

6) Onions

7) Spicy food

8) Caffeine

9) Chocolate

Chocolate contains methylxanthine, which can cause a weakening of the LOS.

10) Mint

  • Fresh mint
  • Mint sauce
  • Mint chewing gum
  • Mint toothpaste

11) Alcohol

12) Wheat products

  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Wafers and biscuits
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Sauces containing wheat flour
  • Wheat noodles

Though this list incorporates a lot of ingredients, what causes GORD is specific to each sufferer. Your symptoms may worsen with some, or with all of these foods. Or they could be triggered by other foods. In order to find out your unique triggers, you will need to keep a comprehensive diary or invest in a premium health-tracker app like AlliApp.

How to ease or prevent the symptoms of GORD

Regulate your eating habits

It’s necessary to keep a note of what time you eat, as well as the food itself, as GORD can be made worse by your eating habits. You should leave several hours between eating and going to bed, for example, as lying down can exacerbate acid reflux. Propping up your pillow so your head is higher than your stomach can also help prevent acid reflux in the night. After eating, (and it is best to eat slowly), staying upright for a couple of hours is a useful exercise. Eating fibre-rich food can help ease symptoms. Coconut water, and licorice or ginger teas have been cited by some as being beneficial for GORD sufferers. There is also some evidence as outlined in this Daily Mail article, that adopting a ‘Mediterranean’ diet can help to combat GORD.

Antacid medication

Taking antacids can be useful in particularly acute attacks of acid reflux as they neutralise stomach acids. You should aim to keep usage down to a minimum as overuse can potentially cause diarrhoea or constipation. Long-term usage is not recommended by health professionals

Keep a food diary

Some people are  more methodical and organised than others. In order to nail down the foods that are causing GORD, sufferers will need to keep a comprehensive record of their diet and of their symptoms. A proven association between certain foodstuffs and acid reflux is the key to discovering what causes GORD, and to then creating the conditions that will stop the symptoms from developing. A reliable health-tracker app like AlliApp can take some of the grind out of remembering and collating everything you eat and at what time, in order to help yourself back to better health.