Acid Gastroesophageal reflux, often referred to as GERD, occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. Normally, food travels from the mouth, down through the esophagus and into the stomach. A ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), contracts to keep the acidic contents of the stomach from refluxing‚ or coming back up into the esophagus. In those who have GERD, the LES does not close properly, allowing acid to move up the esophagus.
When stomach acid touches the sensitive tissue lining the esophagus and throat, it causes the burning sensation known as heartburn.
In some cases, reflux can be silent, with no symptoms until a problem arises. Almost all individuals have experienced acid reflux (GERD), but the disease (GERD) occurs when acid reflux happens on a frequent basis often over a long period of time.
Factors that can contribute to GERD:
- Hiatus hernia, which increases the likelihood of GERD due to mechanical and motility factors.
- Obesity: increasing body mass index is associated with more severe GERD.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which can be present with increased gastric acidity due to gastrin production
- Hypercalcemia, which can increase gastrin production, leading to increased acidity
- Scleroderma and systemic sclerosis, which can feature esophageal dysmotility
- The use of medicines such as prednisolone
- Visceroptosis or Gl‚àö¬©nard syndrome, in which the stomach has sunk in the abdomen upsetting the motility and acid secretion of the stomach.
- GERD has been linked to laryngitis, chronic cough, pulmonary fibrosis, earache, and asthma, even when not clinically apparent, as well as to laryngopharyngeal reflux and ulcers of the vocalcords.
Factors that have been linked with GERD but not conclusively:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Gallstones, which can impede the flow of bile into the
- Duodenum, which can affect the ability to neutralize gastric acid.
Common GERD treatments include: