Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Many people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestioncaused by GERD. Doctors believe that some people suffer from GERD due to a condition called hiatal hernia. In most cases, GERD can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes; however, some people may require medication or surgery.
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux?
Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach's contents back up into the esophagus.
In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach's contents to flow up into the esophagus.
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