Glossary of Heartburn Terms
LINX reflux management system: A surgically placed device used to treat the symptoms associated with GERD consisting of a ring of titanium beads placed around the outside of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It's designed to strengthen the sphincter while still allowing food and liquids to pass through to the stomach.
Liver: The large organ in the upper right abdomen that performs vital chemical functions, including cleansing the blood; helping digestion by secreting bile; creating sugars and fats; and detoxifying poisons.
Lower esophageal sphincter: The natural valve that keeps stomach contents in the stomach and out of the esophagus. When working properly, this important muscle operates like a door, letting food into the stomach but not back up into the esophagus. Also known as LES.
LES: Abbreviation for lower esophageal sphincter.
Nausea: A queasy feeling that leads to stomach distress, a distaste for food, and an urge to vomit. Nausea is not a disease, but a symptom of many conditions. It can be brought on by illnesses such as influenza, medications, pain, and inner ear disease.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): A class of drugs that is effective in reducing inflammation and pain without steroids. Examples of these drugs include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.
Manometry test: See esophageal manometry test
Minimally invasive surgery: See laparoscopic surgery
Pancreas: The organ behind the stomach that is about the size of a hand. The pancreas secretes enzymes into the small intestine to break down protein, fat, and carbohydrates from the food we eat. The pancreas also produces several hormones, including insulin.
Paraesophageal hernia: A type of hiatal hernia in which part of the stomach is pushed or squeezed upward through the diaphragm, moving it next to the lower esophagus. Although you can have this type without any symptoms, there is danger that the stomach could become "strangled," cutting off its blood supply.
Pathology: The study of the characteristics, causes, and effects of a disease.
Peristalsis: A series of involuntary muscular contractions that form a wave-like motion to propel food through the esophagus to the stomach. This same process is used by the intestines to propel digested food and waste.
Promotility agents: Prescription drugs used in the treatment of severe heartburn or GERD. These medications help speed gastric emptying, reducing the amount of time that stomach contents stay in the stomach. They may also help strengthen the LES and thereby decrease the amount of stomach acid that can potentially reflux into the esophagus.
Proton pump inhibitors: The most powerful type of acid suppressors. These medications work by preventing acid pumps in the stomach from producing too much acid.
Reflux: To flow back or return.
Regurgitation: The backward flow of the contents of the stomach into the throat or mouth in small amounts, short of vomiting.