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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The following is an excerpt of the introduction of this article: There are many well-known disorders associated with the digestion process, the most common of which is gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD. There are six major factors that are the primary cause for GERD: impaired esophageal motility, defective mucosal defense, lower esophageal sphincter (LES) dysfunction, reflux of gastric contents, delayed gastric emptying, and hiatal hernia (DeVault and Castell 1999). Impaired esophageal motility occurs when the esophagus has trouble moving the food down and normal peristalsis does not occur. Defective mucosal defense can cause irritation to the esophagus, eliciting a burning sensation as the acid makes its way past the mucosal defense. Lower esophageal sphincter (LES) dysfunction is when the esophageal sphincter does not close properly and allows acid chyme to flow back up the esophagus. Reflux of gastric contents is similar to LES dysfunction; however, the movements and convulsions of the stomach play a major role. Delayed gastric emptying causes a back up in the stomach, which can lead to a greater chance of reflux as well as upper abdominal pain (Lewis et al. 2007). “Hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm….Some doctors believe a hiatal hernia may weaken the LES and increase the risk for gastroesophageal reflux” (Nazario 2009).

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