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Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. It may cause burning pain in the esophagus.

Acid reflux may occur because of weakness in the ring of muscle (lower esophageal sphincter, or LES) that controls the flow of food from the esophagus into the stomach. Frequent acid reflux can lead to irritation of the esophagus (esophagitis), narrowing of the esophagus, or development of sores (ulcers) in the esophagus. Long-term exposure of the esophagus to stomach acid causes the cells that line the inside of the esophagus to be replaced by cells similar to those that line the inside of the stomach (Barrett's esophagus).

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last Revised March 6, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.