Standard Acid-Reducing Meds May Not Help NERD Patients

On the front of the Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal (11/13, D1, Beck, Subscription Publication) reports in “Health Journal” that 44% of Americans suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at least once on a monthly basis, and 20% have heartburn at least once a week. Unfortunately, about half of those who suffer from heartburn appear to get little or no relief from proton-pump inhibitor medicines, and many of these patients display no esophageal acid erosion during endoscopy. This type of heartburn is called non-erosive reflux disease (NERD). Gastroenterologists theorize that NERD patients may be suffering from psychological stress, hypersensitivity to esophageal secretions, or from bile reflux, not stomach acid reflux. Impedance testing can determine if reflux is nonacid in origin. For some people, avoiding certain foods, not smoking, losing weight, and wearing looser clothes may help manage the problem.