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Home > Illness & Symptoms > Esophagus > GERD/Heartburn > Cause for consumer description

GERD/Heartburn- Cause(s)

The cause is quite complicated. Many patients, who have GERD, also have a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is a condition in which the lower esophageal sphincter along with the upper part of the stomach is pushed up through the diaphragm (the muscle wall that separates your abdomen from your chest) when a person swallows. About 90% of all hiatal hernias are this specific type called sliding hiatal hernia. However, patients with hiatal hernias do not always have acid reflux disease.

Acid Reflux Disease or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): There is a tube that connects the mouth and the stomach called the esophagus. At the point where the esophagus connects to the upper stomach is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter. If this ring of muscle doesn’t close tight or close properly, the acid in the stomach can pass up through the opening and cause symptoms of acid reflux, such as a burning chest pain called heart burn.


References

1.Longstreth, George. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. December 2010. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000265.htm. Accessed on October 7, 2011.

2.WebMD. Acid Reflux. 2011. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/acid-reflux-symptoms. Accessed on October 7, 2011.

3.Three Rivers Endoscopy Center. 2011. Available at: http://www.gihealth.com/. Accessed on October 7, 2011.

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