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What is the lower esophageal sphincter?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a muscular door that opens and closes, allowing food to enter the stomach from the esophagus while simultaneously preventing the acidic contents of the stomach from coming back up into the esophagus. Esophageal muscle contractions (esophageal peristalsis) are so powerful that if you swallowed food while standing on your head, the esophagus would still transport it to the stomach!
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.