Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is fairly common today among children and adults.
But what exactly is GERD? Esophagus is the food pipe that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.
The muscle at the end of the esophagus (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes during swallowing to allow food to pass and then tightens up to prevent flow in the opposite direction.
When this muscle randomly opens up or does not shut properly, the acidic contents of the stomach, including highly acidic digestive juices, gush back into the esophagus, resulting in a burning sensation in the chest or throat known as heartburn.
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When these symptoms are experienced often, the patients is said to be suffering from GERD.
The incidence of GERD increases markedly after the age of 40. Not just adults are affected; even infants and children can have GERD.
These refluxed acidic contents have adverse effects on the mucosa of the esophagus, oropharynx, and respiratory system.
By Dr. Anveeta Agarwal, BDS, MDS