Reflux is a disease. Not a bad meal choice!
Reflux (also called Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GORD) is caused by a weak muscle in your oesophagus called the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter (LOS). The LOS is your body’s lower reflux
barrier. Normally your reflux barrier acts like a one way valve, allowing food and liquid to pass into the stomach, but preventing stomach contents from flowing back into the oesophagus. In people with reflux, the reflux barrier allows harmful acid and bile to flow back into the oesophagus.
What Causes Reflux Disease?
Reflux disease is caused by inappropriate relaxation or weakness in a muscle called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS). Normally the LOS acts like a one-way valve, allowing food and liquid to pass through to the stomach, but preventing stomach contents from flowing back into the oesophagus.
Complications of Reflux Disease*
In addition to producing a wide range of symptoms, reflux disease can lead to potentially serious complications including:
- Oesophagitis (Inflammation that can damage the tissue of the oesophagus)
- Stricture (Narrowing of the oesophagus)
- Barrett’s Oesophagus (Pre-cancerous changes to the tissue lining the oesophagus)
- Oesophageal cancer (in rare cases)*
In people with reflux disease, the lower oesophageal sphincter is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid and bile to flow back from the stomach into the oesophagus.