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What Is Acid Reflux? What Causes Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is the movement, the action of stomach acids going up the wrong way, while heartburn refers to the burning sensation. What is the esophagus? In simple terms, the esophagus is the tube between the stomach and the pharynx, which is at the back of your throat. According to Medilexicon’s Medical Dictionary , “the esophagus is the portion of the alimentary canal between the pharynx and stomach. It is about 25-cm long and consists of three parts: the cervical part, from the cricoid cartilage to the thoracic inlet; the thoracic part, from the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm; and the abdominal part, below the diaphragm to the cardiac opening of the stomach.” The esophageal sphincter Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) News The esophageal sphincter lies at the junction where the stomach and the esophagus join. Your stomach produces strong acids and enzymes (gastric juices) which are used in food digestion. The inner lining of your stomach has several mechanisms to protect itself from the effect of the gastric juices on itself, but the lining of the esophagus does not. There is a valve that stops the gastric juices from going up the esophagus – it is called the lower esophageal sphincter. When the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weakened gastric juices can seep upwards into the esophagus. Most of us have acid reflux problems now and again. In majority of cases this is harmless. If the problem becomes persistent and goes untreated, the heartburn can develop into GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) . In chronic and severe cases the esophagus can become scarred – the patient may have difficulty swallowing, and the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus increases significantly.
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Chronic Acid Reflux / GERD

Acid Reflux Symptoms Acid reflux symptoms are most often experienced as heartburn, a burning, painful experience caused by esophageal reflux. Heartburn is often experienced as a burning sensation in the stomach or chest area. Also common is regurgitation, which occurs when stomach acid and stomach contents enter the esophagus and flow back into the mouth. Regurgitated contents have a sour, lingering taste. Stomach acid in regurgitated contents can burn the back of the throat, causing pain and discomfort. GERD symptoms also include dysphasia, or difficulty swallowing. Food may seem to stick in the throat momentarily, causing gagging. Of all the symptoms of acid reflux disease difficulty swallowing is one of the most unnerving, as there is a momentary sensation of choking. Uncommon GERD Symptoms Less common acid reflux symptoms include coughing and chest pain. If esophageal reflux damages the vocal cords, hoarseness can develop.
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