2 – Gastrointestinal Issues: Esophageal dysfunction
When we eat, food goes from the mouth and throat into the stomach through a tube called the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter, or valve, acts like a gate preventing food from coming back up after passing to the stomach. Often in systemic scleroderma patients, the gate doesn’t close correctly leaving a backwash of acid and a burning sensation (also know as heartburn) because the food and the stomach acid return into the esophagus. This process may cause injuries in the lower portion of the esophagus.