How common is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Occasional heartburn is very common. Frequent heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are less common. Some experts estimate that over 60 million people in the United States get heartburn at least once a month and that over 15 million have heartburn every day. Daily heartburn could be a symptom of GERD.

Are you getting heartburn more often? In this video, Dr. Robin Miller talks about why gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is on the rise, and whether it's dangerous.

Dr. Joseph W. Beets, MD

All people experience esophageal reflux at times. Not all people who have esophageal reflux, even severe disease, have typical symptoms of heartburn. Some people have no symptoms. Some people complain of sinus problems, dental problems, hoarseness, asthma, and other less typical manifestations. Classic symptoms of heartburn, regurgitation, and others are more typical.

Complaints of esophageal reflux are certainly much more prevalent in the Western world, where 10-20% of people may have significant disease (based upon assessment of symptoms).

It is certainly a common topic, in part related to the fact that there are very effective medications to control acid production in the stomach. These medications are broadly advertised, due to their immense profitability. All but a small fraction of patients get complete resolution of GERD symptoms with these medications.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)


Up to 60 million people in the US suffer from heartburn; 15 million have heartburn every day. Watch Dr. Oz explain what happens when you get heartburn and what you can do to stop it.

Betty Long, RN, MHA
Nursing Specialist

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects nearly 33% of the adult population of the United States to some degree at least once a month. Almost 10% of adults experience GERD weekly or daily. And GERD is not just an adult affliction; even infants and children can have it.

GERD is a fairly common disease that can be made worse by certain foods. GERD effects about 60% of the US population at some point throughout the year. Approximately 20% of the population experience symptoms weekly.

Continue Learning about GERD

What Increases My Risk for GERD?
What Increases My Risk for GERD?
No food after midnight! That was one of the “rules” for avoiding trouble that down-and-out Rand (Hoyt Axton) was given when he bought an extraterrestr...
Read More
What if alkaline foods are not helping my acid reflux symptoms?
James Rosser, MDJames Rosser, MD
If alkaline foods are not helping with your acid reflux symptoms, you may have GERD and may need to ...
More Answers
Is it possible to have silent reflux and not realize it?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Many people who suffer from silent reflux don't know they have it. In this video, Dr. Oz holds a...
More Answers
Can Acid Reflux Lead to Cancer?
Can Acid Reflux Lead to Cancer?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.