Heartburn vs. Acid Reflux vs. GERD

However, when the LES doesn’t close properly or tightly enough, a reflux (or regurgitation) of digestive juices and stomach contents can rise back into the esophagus. This leads to the usual acidic sensation and taste that characterizes heartburn.

One study found that reflux occurs as frequently in normal individuals as in patients with GERD. In patients with GERD, however, the refluxed liquid contains acid more often, and the acid remains in the esophagus longer.

Another kind of acid reflux, which causes respiratory and laryngeal signs and symptoms, is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) or “extraesophageal reflux disease” (EERD). Unlike GERD, LPR rarely produces heartburn, and is sometimes called silent reflux.

It is too early to conclude, however, that seeing widening is specific enough to be confidently that GERD is present. The esophagus of most patients with symptoms of reflux looks normal.

This HPZ does not correspond to any visible anatomic structure. It is a zone created by a complex architecture of smooth muscle fibers, and it is typically identified during manometry. The anatomy of the esophagus, stomach, and esophagogastric junction is critical in the understanding of the pathogenesis of reflux.

It also is believed that patients with Barrett’s esophagus should receive maximum treatment for GERD to prevent further damage to the esophagus. Procedures are being studied that remove the abnormal lining cells. Several endoscopic, non-surgical techniques can be used to remove the cells. These techniques are attractive because they do not require surgery; however, there are associated with complications, and the long-term effectiveness of the treatments has not yet been determined. Surgical removal of the esophagus is always an option.

Some other medications and/or supplements may aggravate GERD. Be sure to ask your pharmacist or physician if any products you are currently taking could be affecting your symptoms. Smoking cessation is also important for reducing GERD symptoms, as studies point to relaxation of the LES with smoking. Acid erosion of tooth enamel, which a dentist will notice, can be a sign of GERD in someone who is not yet experiencing typical symptoms.

In this article, learn more about GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the upper portion of the digestive tract is not functioning properly, causing stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube linking the mouth to the stomach. In normal digestion, a specialized ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and then quickly closes to prevent backflow into the esophagus.

If you have a long history of GERD, you should discuss with you doctor whether or not you need an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to check your esophagus for signs of damage due to the reflux. Get a prescription. Proton pump inhibitors reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach. This can lessen reflux and its associated symptoms. Antiemetic drugs are another option to relieve nausea.

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