FROM OUR EXPERTS
Could marijuana smoking be the cause of GERD?
The effect of marijuana on the
symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease is controversial. A study in 2002
showed that animals given a synthetic marijuana-like substance had an 80%
reduction in transient relaxations of the lower esophageal sphincter, which is
felt to be a significant cause of reflux. By reducing these relaxation
episodes, symptoms of reflux should actually improve. Other smaller studies
have shown that use of marijuana can actually worsen symptoms of
gastroesophageal reflux disease by decreasing resting pressures of the lower
I recently saw my gastroenterologist as my GERD symptoms have been
worse. He has now recommended surgery. I had heard bad things about surgery in
the past. Is this an acceptable option?
A very recent report out of Massachusetts General Hospital surveyed 200 patients that had
underwent laparascopic anti-reflux surgery over a 10 year period. The results
GERD is one of the most prevalent gastrointestinal disorders. Nearly 7% of persons in the U.S. experience heartburn daily, 20% experience it monthly, and 60% experience it intermittently. Incidence in pregnant women exceeds 80%. Scientists do not know why GERD occurs. Some cases of acid reflux disease are related to a condition called "hiatal hernia." A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach is above the diaphragm. The diaphragm helps the lower esophageal sphincter keep digestive enzymes and acid from coming back into the esophagus. Although no one knows why GERD occurs, there are several factors that are thought to contribute to the disorder. These factors include alcohol use, obesity or overweight, pregnancy, and smoking. Certain foods that may irritate the digestive system can also contribute to GERD, though there's plenty of contradictory evidence as to whether or not certain foods actually cause GERD symptoms. Foods that have been reported to ca...
Definition Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. Alternative Names Peptic esophagitis; Reflux esophagitis; GERD; Heartburn - chronic; Dyspepsia - GERD Causes, incidence, and risk factors When you eat, food passes from the throat to the stomach through the esophagus (also called the food pipe or swallowing tube). Once food is in the stomach, a ring of muscle fibers prevents food from moving backward into the esophagus. These muscle fibers are called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. If this sphincter muscle doesn't close well, food, liquid, and stomach acid can leak back into the esophagus. This is called reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. This reflux may cause symptoms, or can even damage the esophagus. The risk factors for reflux include hiatal hernia (a ...
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