Heartburn and hiatal hernia

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Heartburn and hiatal hernia


Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter remains closed except when you swallow. This prevents passage of food and acid from your stomach into your esophagus. If the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weakened or relaxed, stomach acid may back up into your esophagus. Frequent acid reflux can irritate and inflame the lining of your esophagus, causing symptoms of heartburn. Most cases of heartburn occur when a portion of the stomach extends through the diaphragm. This is called hiatal hernia.

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Last Updated: 2009-12-09
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