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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?

The muscle (lower esophageal sphincter) located between the esophagus and stomach normally opens after swallowing allowing food to pass into the stomach. This sphincter muscle then closes quickly to prevent the return (reflux) of food and stomach juices back into the esophagus. When the muscle either relaxes inappropriately or is very weak, the acid contents of the stomach can back up, into the esophagus. This is called gastro-esophageal reflux and typically produces heartburn, a burning sensation below the sternum where your ribs come together.


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