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Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease - What it is

Chronic disease characterised by burning (heartburn) located behind the sternum and acid regurgitations.

 

The gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is benignant but it can cause frequent chronic disorders which affect the quality of life. We can talk about a real pathology when the main symptoms occur at leat once a week. By the term "reflux" we refer to the abnormal ascent of the stomach's acid content to the esophagus (the duct that connects the mouth to the stomach) with a reverse trajectory to the physiological one.

Usually the valve opens up to the passage of food and subsequenty closes to prevent the ingested and partially digested material to rise from the stomach to the esophagus.

A bad functioning of the valve can facilitate the ascent of ingested food and damage the esophagus lining, triggering the disorder.

The causes

The major causes of the reflux disease are to be mainly found in the bad functioning of the valve that, when in a physiological status, allows the passage of food in an unilateral direction, from the esophagus to the stomach.

The symptoms

Distinctive symptoms of the reflux disease are heartburn and acid regurgitation. By the term "heartburn" we refer to a burning located behind the sternum, a wake-up call for many pathologies of the digestive system.
The individual often perceives heartburn in the stomach. The symptom tends to become acute during the night hours and, due to its severity, can be confused with other serious diseases belonging to the cardiovascular spectrum.

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