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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

Glossary of Heartburn Terms

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Acid reflux: The backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. Acid reflux generally occurs because the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes and allows harsh stomach juices to flow back up into the esophagus.

Acid blockers: Medicines that reduce the production of acid in the stomach to treat heartburn and acid indigestion. Proton pump inhibitors(PPI) and Histamine(H2) blockers are the two main types of acid blockers.

Recommended Related to Heartburn/GERD

What Is Acid Reflux Disease?

At the entrance to your stomach is a valve, which is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it. If the LES doesn't close all the way or if it opens too often, acid produced by your stomach can move up into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms such as a burning chest pain called heartburn. If acid reflux symptoms happen more than twice a week, you have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease...

Read the What Is Acid Reflux Disease? article > >

Angina: Also called angina pectoris, a discomfort or pressure, usually in the chest, caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart muscle. Discomfort may also be felt in the neck, jaw, or arms.

Antacids: medications commonly used for the treatment of heartburn. Antacids treat heartburn symptoms as they occur and work by neutralizing acid in the stomach for a short period of time.

Appendix: A small, finger-like tube located where the large and small intestine join. It has no known function.

Barium swallow: A test that uses a special substance called barium to coat the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine so that they can be seen on a X-ray.

Barrett's esophagus: A condition marked by abnormal cells lining the lower part of the esophagus that develops in response to acid injury. This condition increases the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.

Bile: A substance that aids in the digestion of fat and eliminates waste products from the blood.

Biliary system: The gallbladder and bile ducts.

Biopsy: Removal of a sample of tissue for study, usually under a microscope.

Cannulas: A hollow tube with a sharp, retractable inner core that can be inserted into a vein, an artery, or another body cavity.

Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.

Clinical trial: A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. They may also compare a new treatment to an old one. Clinical trial is also called a clinical study.

Colon: see large intestine

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