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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease( GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a relatively common condition that affects from 5% to 7% of the population. It is a chronic reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. GERD manifests itself as several symptoms including heartburn, and difficulty swallowing. Thus, if heartburn symptoms occur frequently and persistently, they are most likely caused by GERD.

The severity of GERD depends on lower esophageal sphincter dysfunction, as well as the type and amount of fluid brought up from the stomach.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease


Treatments aim to reduce the amount of reflux or reduce the potential for damage to the esophageal lining from refluxed substances. In addition, doctors recommend lifestyle and dietary modification to lessen acid reflux.

Causes of GERD

Various lifestyle and dietary factors can contribute to GERD by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter and allowing it to open, increasing the amount of acid in the stomach, increasing stomach pressure, or by making the esophagus more sensitive to harsh acids. These factors include:

Dietary Habits

  • Eating large portions
  • Eating certain foods, including onions, chocolate, peppermint, high-fat or spicy foods, citrus fruits, garlic, and tomatoes or tomato-based products
  • Drinking certain beverages, including citrus juices, alcohol, and caffeinated and carbonated drinks
  • Eating before bedtime

Lifestyle Habits

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Wearing tight-fitting clothing or belt
  • Lying down or bending over, especially after eating

Medical Causes

  • Pregnancy
  • Bulging of the stomach into the chest cavity, also calledhiatal hernia
  • GERD
  • Ulcers
  • Certain bacteria
  • Taking certain medications, especially some antibiotics, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve or Advil

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