Is GERD Hereditary?

is-acid-reflux-geneticGERD, namely gastroesophageal reflux disease, belongs to the category of gastrointestinal motility disease (GIMD) medically. To this day there are many problems concerning its pathogenesis still to be solved. As far as genetic factors are concerned, about 30 to 40% of acid reflux may be hereditary, according to many GERD authorities. And their main research results in recent years are as follows.

1. I Mohammed et al. found that the GERD prevalence rate in both monozygotic twins and fraternal twins is 18%. This conclusion is made by studies on 1960 twins. In addition, the study also revealed that the monozygotic twins had a higher concordance rate than the fraternal twins (42% VS 26%, P <0.001), which hints that genetic factors play an important role in the pathogenesis of GERD;

2. Hu et al found that the children GER-related genes (GERD1) located on chromosome Bq14 and might be near SNP160 or SNP168;

3. Cameron et al. ever investigated 2178 Swiss monozygotic twins adults and 6233 fraternal twins adults. After factors of drinking, smoking, obesity, and the like have been ruled out, the results showed that the genetic possibility of GERD was 31%. That’s to say, they have a significant genetic predisposition;

4. A study conducted in the United States showed that GERD symptoms were significantly associated with family history (OR = 2.6, 95% CI: 1.8-3.7);

5. A British study also found that a family history of upper gastrointestinal disease was related to GERD symptoms and chronicity (OR = 1.89);

6. A study in Spain showed that GERD family history was bound up with GERD occurrence (OR = 1.61, 95% CI: 1.17-2.23) and chronicity (duration> = 10 years, OR = 2.42, 95% CI: 1.44-4.06). In addition, it is also interesting to note that the occurrence of GERD correlated with the family history of his or her spouse (OR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.05-1.85);

7. A study conducted in China Xi’an Jiaotong University also found that GERD symptoms were associated with a family history (OR = 1.206, 95% CI: 1.17-1.25).

From the above-mentioned studies, it is clear that gene does play a role in acid reflux. Sometimes it is your esophagus or stomach itself that should be blamed of. This is because the inherited structural or muscular disorders in them can be the root cause for your GERD. The typical example is the hereditary disease Barrett’s esophagus, which will increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer if the stomach acid has done a long-term damage to the esophagus. So, if other your family members have the mentioned diseases, you should go for a checkup on a regular basis. By the way, there is a connection between GERD and asthma too although they are very different conditions, according to health experts. That’s to say, more than 75% of those who are suffering from asthma tend to have gastroesophageal reflux disease.


1. Mohammed I, Cherkas LF, Riley SA et al. Genetic influences in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a twin study. Gut.2003; 52:1085-1089.

2. Hu FZ, Donfack J, Ahmed A, et al. Fine mapping a gene for pediatric gastroesophageal reflux on human chromosome 13q14. Hum Genet. 2004; 114(6):562-72.

3. Cameron AJ, Lagergren J, Henriksson C, et al. Gastroesophageal reflux disease in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. Gastroenterology 2002a; 122:55–59.

4. Locke, GR, III, Talley, NJ, Fett, SL, et al. Risk factors associated with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Am J Med 1999; 106: 642–649.

5. I Mohammed, P Nightingale, N J Trudgill, Risk factors for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease symptoms: a community study., Article, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 04/2005; 21(7):821-7.

6. Diaz-Rubio M, Moreno-Elola-Olaso C, Rey E, Locke GR, III, Rodriguez-Artalejo F. Symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux: prevalence, severity, duration and associated factors in a Spanish population. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2004; 19: 95-105.

7. Xu Hui, Li Si Ji, Dong De Quan, Ai Wen Jing, Li Cai Feng, Yao Gui Lan – GERD investigation of Xi’an Jiaotong University Faculty and Some College students (Journal Article) – China Chronic Disease Prevention and Control 2007(5) 246.

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