Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease [GERD] Cause, Signs & Symptoms

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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease [GERD] is a term given to a condition when stomach acids flows upwards or backwards from stomach to esophagus. Normally, lower esophageal sphincter prevents the backward flow. LES most of the time is contracted and relaxes only when you swallow the food. If due to any reason the LES does not remain in the state of contraction the gastric acid flows from stomach to esophagus causing Gastoesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD.

Factors that can result in decreased tone of lower esophageal sphincter thus causing GERD

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Peppermint
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Drugs (Anticholinergic drugs, Nitrates, Calcium Channel Blockers)
  • Idiopathic (Unknown Cause)

As the tone of lower esophageal sphincter decrease the backward flow of gastric acid from stomach to esophagus results in GERD, especially when a person is lying flat.

Signs & Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Usually, GERD causes dyspepsia or epigastric pain which is most of the time substernal along with following differentiating symptoms:

Epigastric pain can be due to number of other diseases like gastritis, pancreatitis, ulcer disease etc. The above symptoms along with substernal pain points the cause of discomfort related to Gastroesophageal Reflux disease.