Significant Association Found Between Rosacea and GERD

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In data presented at AAD, investigators found increased odds of GERD in patients with rosacea compared to a control group without rosacea.

New data shows a significant link between patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and rosacea.

A team, led by Matthew Helm, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Penn State Health, assessed the association between rosacea and GERD in data presented at the 2022 American Academy of Dermatology Association Annual Meeting.


Recent studies have shown rosacea is a systemic comorbid condition, particularly regarding the gastrointestinal symptom. Data has also shown an inconclusive association between rosacea and GERD. Rosacea is characterized by a chronic rash, but the cause is unknown. Patients with the disorder often have facial redness because of dilated superficial capillaries and red papules and pustules.

In the systematic review and meta-analysis, the investigators searched online databases for observational studies involving patients with rosacea and GERD.

The data was pooled using the random effects model to decrease the heterogeneity between the studies.

They also obtained additional data using ICD-10 coding from the National Ambulatory Surgical Sample 2016-2018 (NASS), the IBM Marketscan 2016-2018, and TriNetX 2006-2021.

The team also extracted odds ratios from assessed studies that included proportion data.

The Data

Overall, they identified 4 studies to go along with the original data from NASS, IBM Marketscan, and TriNetX. The pooled analysis showed a statistically significant association between rosacea and GERD (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.50-2.02; P <0.00001; I2 = 100%).

A leave 1-out sensitivity analysis corroborated the initial findings.

“Pooled analysis revealed that the odds of GERD are increased in patients with Rosacea when compared to controls,” the authors wrote. “Recognition of this association can help provide counseling on interventions that simultaneously mitigate exacerbating factors of both conditions.”

Rosacea Awareness Month

April is Rosacea Awareness Month. While the cause of rosacea is still unknown, what is known is that it is estimated to affect up to 16 million people in the United States alone.

Additionally, a recent survey by the National Rosacea Society indicated that 47% of affect patients were unaware of the disorder prior to their diagnosis, and 95% stated that they knew very little about the signs and symptoms of rosacea.

More From DocTalk

For the latest episode of DocTalk, Karan Lal, DO, MS, FAAD, of the Schweiger Dermatology Group, discussed information on how doctors diagnose rosacea, variations of rosacea, what treatments are currently available, and current trends in research regarding the condition.

Variations of rosacea include erythematotelangiectatic rosacea which is often categorized by redness and flushing of the facial cheeks, forehead, and chin, as well as papulopustular forms of rosacea that included pimples and a raising of the skin from pustular bumps.

Furthermore, phymatous rosacea involves the swelling of the sebaceous glands and can result in deep-seated swelling in the nose, chin, and ears of patients.

Symptoms and severity of rosacea are dependent on the type of rosacea a patient has. As such, treatment methods may vary, though Lal noted that topical treatments are often used to reduce pustular bumps.

The study, “Association between Rosacea & Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis,” was published online by the American Academy of Dermatology Association.