Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic disorder
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic disorder in which acid reflux occurs at least two times a week for several weeks. Acid reflux is a condition in which the acidic stomach contents leak back in the food pipe (esophagus) and cause heartburn.
GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weak or relaxed. LES is present between the lower part of the esophagus and the upper part of the stomach. This sphincter works like a valve preventing the food and acid in the stomach from flowing backward up (refluxing) into the esophagus.
Factors that can weaken the LES and cause acid reflux include:
- Increased pressure on the abdomen due to obesity or pregnancy
- Hiatus hernia (a condition in which the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest due to the weakening of the diaphragm)
- Spicy foods, fried or fatty foods, and dairy products
- Certain medicines:
- Calcium channel blockers (medicines that treat high blood pressure)
- Antihistamines (medicines for treating allergic reactions)
- Sedatives (medicines that help put you to sleep)
- Antidepressants (medicines that treat depression)
- Active smoking and passive smoking (inhaling secondhand smoke)
Medically Reviewed on 9/29/2020
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/176595
GERD (Chronic Acid Reflux). Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17019-gerd-or-acid-reflux-or-heartburn