Gastroesophageal reflux disease and obesity

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2010 Mar;39(1):39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2009.12.002.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition, with multifactorial pathogenesis, affecting up to 40% of the population. Obesity is also common. Obesity and GERD are clearly related, both from a prevalence and causality association. GERD symptoms increase in severity when people gain weight. Obese patients tend to have more severe erosive esophagitis and obesity is a risk factor for the development of Barrett's esophagus and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Patients report improvement in GERD when they lose weight and there are several reports suggesting a decrease in GERD symptoms after bariatric surgery. At present, there is little evidence that obesity has any effect on the efficacy of antisecretory therapy, with conflicting data on surgical outcomes. This review attempts to put in perspective the relationship of these two common entities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Esophageal Sphincter, Lower / physiopathology
  • Esophagitis / epidemiology
  • Fundoplication
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / surgery
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Weight Loss / physiology