BACKGROUND: Gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms are usually reported by patients with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and clinical characteristics of gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms in subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. METHODS: Cross-sectional, case-control study of 185 consecutive patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and an age- and sex-matched control group of 112 healthy volunteers. Participants were interviewed with the aid of a previously validated questionnaire to assess lifestyle and reflux symptoms in the 3 months preceding enrolment. Odds ratios were determined before and after adjustment for body mass index, increased waist circumference, physical activity, metabolic syndrome and proton pump inhibitors and/or antiacid medication. RESULTS: The prevalence of heartburn and/or regurgitation and of at least one of gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms was significantly higher in the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease group. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease subjects were associated to higher prevalence of heartburn (adjusted odds ratios: 2.17, 95% confidence intervals: 1.16-4.04), regurgitation (adjusted odds ratios: 2.61, 95% confidence intervals: 1.24-5.48) and belching (adjusted odds ratios: 2.01, 95% confidence intervals: 1.12-3.59) and had higher prevalence of at least one GER symptom (adjusted odds ratios: 3.34, 95% confidence intervals: 1.76-6.36). CONCLUSION: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with a higher prevalence of gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms.