What Are GERD, Acid Reflux, and Heartburn?
GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It is a disorder in the digestive system affecting the ring of muscle and tissue, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), that exists where your esophagus meets your stomach. GERD causes heartburn and acid indigestion, or acid reflux. Severe GERD quickly disrupts your quality of life.
The LES is supposed to close the entrance to your stomach after food moves through it. The LES of someone with GERD either doesn't completely close or opens when it isn't supposed to. This allows stomach acid and other stomach contents to travel up through your esophagus, damaging precious and sensitive tissue and muscle while causing heartburn and acid reflux problems, along with gastrointestinal discomfort and other digestive conditions.
Acid reflux refers to the occurrence of acid rising into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia occasionally causes this. However, it can occur when the upper part of your stomach, along with the LES, moves upwards above your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is much like the LES in that it separates the stomach from your chest area. When these two muscles fail or misbehave, heartburn occurs.
Heartburn is the feeling that you get when your esophageal tube is damaged by stomach acid from GERD. It is a literal burning sensation in your chest that causes real damage to your esophagus, throat, and even your mouth.
Healing your digestive tract is essential to the health of your entire body and identifying and treating the symptoms of GERD is the only way to do it.