Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Esophageal Reflux Underlying Cause

The lower esophageal sphincter is a ring of muscle that surrounds the esophagus, where it empties into the stomach. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter closes after food passes into the stomach. If the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes, or remains open, stomach acid splashes into the esophagus. The stomach acid irritates the esophagus, resulting in reflux esophagitis.

Causes of a poorly functioning lower esophageal sphincter include:

Continue to Esophageal Reflux Anatomy

Last Updated: Feb 9, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Esophageal Reflux References
  1. Fraser A, Delaney B, Moayyedi P. Symptom-based outcome measures for dyspepsia and GERD trials: a systematic review. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Feb;100(2):442-52. [15667506]
  2. Kahrilas PJ. Review article: is stringent control of gastric pH useful and practical in GERD? Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Oct;20 Suppl 5:89-94. [15456470]
  3. Tytgat GN. Review article: treatment of mild and severe cases of GERD. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jul;16 Suppl 4:73-8. [12047264]
  4. Vakil N. Review article: cost-effectiveness of different GERD management strategies. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jul;16 Suppl 4:79-82. [12047265]
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