What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, or chronic acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and stomach contents leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach. The esophagus carries food from the mouth to the stomach. When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn. The fluid may even be tasted in the back of the mouth, and this is called acid indigestion.
Occasional heartburn is common but does not necessarily mean one has GERD. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be considered GERD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems.
Anyone, including infants, children, and pregnant women, can have GERD.
What are the symptoms of GERD?
What causes GERD?
No one knows why people get GERD. A hiatal hernia may contribute. A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach is above the diaphragm, the muscle wall that separates the stomach from the chest. The diaphragm helps the LES keep acid from coming up into the esophagus. When a hiatal hernia is present, it is easier for the acid to come up. In this way, a hiatal hernia can predispose to reflux.
Other factors that may contribute to GERD include:
How is GERD (chronic acid reflux) diagnosed?
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux (not chronic) by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.
If these strategies don’t help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
How do we treat GERD at Netra?
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