Naturally, if you are already experiencing the pain caused by acid reflux disease, this explanation will only serve as confirmation of what you already know. However, you may be looking for more information on this disease or perhaps you may be experiencing acid reflux symptoms yourself. Or maybe you just want a simple answer to the question: What is acid reflux? In each scenario, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in understanding acid reflux and how it works.

Surprisingly, there's quite a bit of information about acid reflux disease that even some patients aren't aware of. These details include answers to questions such as what is acid reflux, what areas of the body does it effects and how can it be properly treated? Whether you are experiencing a relatively mild case of acid reflux or an unrelenting one, awareness of the disease and its characteristics can be of great benefit to you.

Acid reflux is most commonly taken to be a form of pain located in the heart and chest area. However, others claim that the condition is a digestive disorder and that the pain originates in the esophagus. While both of these explanations appear logical, neither are entirely correct. Acid reflux disease is a problem relegated to the stomach area. In other words, the pain in your esophagus is not caused by the esophagus itself.

Once food travels to your stomach after being swallowed, your body creates a type of hydrochloric acid that aids in breaking down the food so you can digest it properly. Slightly above your stomach pouch, there's a small valve at the far end of your esophagus that opens as food travels down your esophagus and closes once the food has reached your stomach. When this valve does not stay closed after the food has entered your stomach, the acid can begin to back up into your esophagus.

When this occurs, heartburn is created. In comparison to your stomach -- which uses lining to protect itself from the acid -- your esophagus has no protection against the acid, which causes you to experience pain and discomfort.

It's important to keep in mind that experiencing these symptoms on different occasions doesn't necessarily mean you have acid reflux disease as certain things such as a heavy meal can prevent your esophagus valve from staying shut after the food has reached your stomach. Spicy foods can also speed up acid production within your stomach, which can cause some discomfort. If you suspect you may have acid reflux disease, try to keep track of when and how often you are experiencing heartburn and esophagus pain. As always, it's crucial that you discuss your experiences and health concerns with a primary care physician or healthcare professional.

Hopefully, this information has given you a better idea of the disease and helped to answer the question: what is acid reflux? So, the next time you experience heartburn, you will now have a better idea of what is occurring in your stomach and esophagus. Keeping a food journal can also be a powerful tool in determining what type of foods are causing you heartburn and whether the culprit is food itself or your stomach valve.