Unformatted text preview: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) develops when stomach acid and juices back up, or reflux, into the esophagus , the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. This happens when the valve between the lower end of the esophagus and the stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter , or LES) does not close tightly enough. See an illustration of how reflux happens . GERD most commonly occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes at the wrong time (that is, when you are not swallowing) and remains open too long (transient LES relaxation). Normally, the valve opens for only a few seconds when you swallow. However, certain foods may relax the valve so that it does not close as tightly, making reflux more likely. These foods include chocolate, onions, peppermint, coffee, high-sugar foods, and possibly high-fat foods. Other foods, though they do not relax the valve, may cause heartburn if the esophagus is already irritated. These foods include spicy foods, citrus products, and tomato products. Alcohol, tobacco irritated....
View Full Document
- Fall '08
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, lower esophageal sphincter