Gastroenterologist Questions Acid reflux

What is acid reflux?

I am a young guy and I often get heartburn after meals, and my doctor diagnosed acid reflux. What is acid reflux?

1 Answer

The stomach secretes hydrochloric acid to help you digest proteins in your food. There is a ring of muscle where the esophagus meets the top of the stomach; if this muscle is weak, stomach juices (including acid) can leak upwards (reflux) through the ring. The walls of the esophagus are not able to tolerate the acid, so the cells try to become more stomach-like to protect themselves. This attempt to change cell types makes these cells at risk for becoming cancerous - acid reflux which remains untreated for 15-20 years can result in esophageal cancer.