The esophagus carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The lower esophageal sphincter is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach.
Gastro Esophageal reflux disease, or GORD, is a disease that occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly and stomach contents leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus.
When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn. The fluid may even be tasted in the back of the mouth, and this is called acid indigestion.
Occasional heartburn is common but does not necessarily mean one has GORD. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be considered GORD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems.
Talk To Your Doctor If:
Your heartburn happens 2 or more times a week
Your heartburn gets worse
Your heartburn happens at night and wakes you from sleep
You’ve had heartburn now and then, but for several years
You have difficulty or pain when swallowing
Your discomfort or pain interferes with your daily activities