Acid Reflux – Part 1 – Introduction

Acid reflux occurs when one of two closures, or “sphincters,” in the esophagus fail to remain sealed after food and/or liquid pass through them on the way to one’s stomach. The two sphincters are located at each end of the esophagus. The first one is at the top, directly behind the larynx and pharynx. The second one is at the bottom, directly above the stomach.

There are two forms of acid reflux – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR). Either form can cause serious and permanent damage, including some forms of cancer, if not diagnosed and treated on a timely basis. Please read further in Parts 2 and 3 for some of the symptoms, tests for diagnosis and evaluation, and treatments commonly used to control this potentially devastating disease.

Should you discover that you have any of the symptoms, please seek medical help quickly so that you can minimize the risks of permanent damage.

For your convenience, see the following pronunciation key and a few definitions to assist with some of the terminology in the three parts provided:


Bronchi – bron’-ki
Dysphagia – diss-fay’-gee-ah
Endoscopy – en-dos’-cop-ee
Gastroesophageal – gas’-tro-ess-off’-ah-gee’-al
Gingivitis – jin’-jiv-eye’-tiss
Halitosis – hal’-ih-toe’-siss
Hiatal Hernia – hi-ay’-tal her’-nee-ah
Laryngitis – lair’-in-ji’-tiss
Laryngopharengeal – lair-in’-go-fair’-in-gee’-al
Laryngoscopy – lair’-in-goss’-cop-ee
Larynx – lair’-innks
Odynophagia – oh-din’-oh-fay’-gee-ah
Pharynx – fair’-innks
Trachea – tray’-key-ah


Bronchi – large tubes between the trachea and the lungs
Dysphagia – dysfunctional swallowing (see article 3 for further explanation) Dysphonia – change in, weakness of, or cracking of one’s voice when speaking or singing
Endoscopy – a procedure in which a tube containing fiber optic filaments and a microscopic lens is inserted into one’s esophagus to assess and diagnose GERD Gingivitis – a form of gum disease
Halitosis – chronic bad breath, frequently caused by illness and/or disease Laryngoscopy – similar to the endoscopy, except that this is used to assess the condition of one’s larynx and pharynx
Larynx – voice box
Pharynx – throat
Odynophagia – pain when swallowing (see article 3 for further information)

Sphincter – a band of muscle tissue which closes to prevent involuntary evacuation of material(s) from one’s body

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Acid Reflux

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