GERD typically occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle located at the bottom of the esophagus, opens to let food in and closes to keep it in the stomach. When this muscle relaxes too often or for too long, acid refluxes back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
Other lifestyle contributors to GERD may include the following:
- Being overweight
- Consuming certain foods, such as citrus,chocolate, fatty, and spicy foods
- Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Other conditions associated with heartburn may include the following:
- Gastritis--an inflammation of the stomach lining
- Ulcer disease