What is gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)?
Repeated backflow of acid from the stomach into the food pipe or mouth is called gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
Three conditions can cause GERD:
- Poor tone of lower part of the esophagus (food pipe)
- Too much acid in the stomach
- Delayed stomach emptying
The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle that controls the passage of food between the esophagus (food pipe) and stomach. Sometimes, this muscle does not close completely, leading acid from the stomach to flow back into the throat or esophagus. This abnormal condition is called gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux.
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux include sour taste in the mouth, dry cough, and burning sensation in the throat. Sometimes, it may cause a heartburn (pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like an individual is having a heart attack).
When these symptoms become recurrent and severe, it is called GERD.