What is gastroesophageal reflux?
GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive disorder that affects the muscular ring connecting the esophagus to the stomach, also known as the lower esophageal sphincter. Normally, the sphincter prevents food from creeping up into the esophagus from the stomach.
A patient diagnosed with GERD, presents with a weakened sphincter muscle, which fails to close tightly, thereby allowing, food and stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus (reflux). The esophageal lining can become inflamed or irritated due to these acids, causing the burning chest pain, sour taste, or cough that patients suffer from.