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GERD, also known as Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or acid reflux disorder refers to the condition characterized by the back flow(reflux) of the stomach content like stomach acid and bile into the esophagus. The esophagus is the hollow, muscular organ that carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach.

Normally, during digestion process, the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) present at the junction of esophagus and stomach opens to let the food pass into the stomach and closes to block the back flow of the food and stomach acidic juices into the esophagus. However, in case of GERD, the reflux occurs due to weak LES or if it works or relaxes in inappropriate way.

GERD is always associated with the chronic heartburn which is most common symptom of GERD. Acid regurgitation that is reflux of gastric acid into mouth is the other common symptom. Other less common symptoms are;

  • Pain and difficulty in swallowing
  • Dysphagia that is the abnormal sensation of food being sticking in esophagus.
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Excessive saliva production.
  • Inflammation of larynx, gums etc.
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth enamel erosion.

The factors that are responsible for causing GERD are;

  • Abnormalities in LES.
  • Abnormal contractions of oesophagus
  • Prolonged time in stomach emptying
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Dietary foods like coffee, fatty foods, chocolates, alcoholic beverages can trigger reflux.
  • Obesity and pregnancy also contribute in procuring GERD symptoms.

Treatment Options

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