GERD stands for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. "Gastro" refers to the stomach. Esophageal refers to the esophagus , the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Reflux means to back-up or flow backwards. GERD is a condition in which acid, bile and partially-digested food in the stomach back up into the esophagus.
- Partially digested food contains a strong acid. It also contains powerful enzymes that break down food. When acid and enzymes come into contact with the esophagus, they cause irritation, inflammation, pain, and other symptoms.
- The stomach lining has a special protective layer that protects the stomach from acid attack. However, this protective layer does not exist in the esophagus, making it vulnerable to damage from stomach acid and digestive enzymes.
- Many people think that
heartburn(or acid indigestion) is a separate disease. It actually is one symptom of GERD. Heartburn is an unpleasant burning sensation behind the breastbone that usually occurs after a meal.
- Most individuals with GERD also have hiatal hernias , which make it easier for stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus. A
hiatal herniaoccurs when part of the stomach bulges into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm(hiatus). The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates the stomach cavity from the chest cavity.
Facts About GERD
Nice To Know:
Is GERD a new disease?
GERD is a relatively new term for recognized conditions commonly called "acid indigestion," "heartburn," "reflux," "reflux
Nice To Know:
Q. What is heartburn, anyway? How does eating certain foods make the heart burn?
A. Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. It's a popular term for the burning sensation that occurs behind the breastbone, right in the area where the heart is located. The esophagus also runs through the same region of the chest. It carries food from the mouth into the stomach, where a strong acid and enzymes help to digest it. When stomach contents back up into the esophagus, the acid and enzymes cause irritation and inflammation. That's the burning sensation in heartburn.