Patient was educated on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as follows:
- Usually, food enters the stomach from the esophagus, passing through the relaxed lower esophageal sphincter.
- The food is then acted upon by the hydrochloric acid in the stomach and digestive enzymes, such as, pepsin, which make the stomach medium highly acidic.
- Once the food is in the stomach the lower esophageal sphincter closes, to prevent acid contents of the stomach moving up into the esophagus. Thus, the sphincter protects the esophagus from the action of the acid contents of stomach.
- Gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux is a condition caused by the acid contents of the stomach flowing back into the esophagus, through a weak lower esophageal sphincter that is defective in function and allows this return flow.
- GERD is manifested as a heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the throat.
- Unresolved GERD, over a period, can cause chronic irritation and damage to the esophagus and might even lead to esophageal cancer.