Acid reflux is a digestive disease that affects approximately 7 million people in the United States. Caused by stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus, it has roots in many different habits and conditions. At Houseton Digestive Diseases Consultants in Houston, TX our gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker, is committed to helping their patients determine the source of their acid reflux in order to help them find relief from the discomfort. A few of the most common causes of reflux are listed here:
The diaphragm is a muscular structure that separates the stomach from the chest area of the body. A hiatal hernia causes the stomach to become displaced above the diaphragm, making it easier for acid to rise into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia is often just a physical abnormality, so your Houston gastroenterologist may prescribe medication to reduce or neutralize acid production to help lessen the reflux symptoms. A small number of patients may require surgery to reposition the stomach and diaphragm, although this is usually reserved for emergency complications, which are rare.
Foods and drinks that contain fat, caffeine, alcohol or citrus ingredients can all contribute to reflux. You may need to keep a food diary for a week or so to determine what your triggers are. If you notice an increase in reflux symptoms after a cup of coffee, for example, your Houston gastroenterologist suggests switching to green tea. You may also need to limit your intake of alcohol and avoid lemonade, orange juice, soda and other highly acidic beverages. For more reasons than preventing reflux, try to abstain from a diet high in fat.
There are many other temporary and ongoing conditions that may cause reflux. About 25% of pregnant women notice an increase in reflux symptoms, especially as their pregnancy progresses. People who regularly take aspirin, ibuprofen or blood thinning medications are also at risk for developing reflux. Lying down immediately after eating is also a common cause.
You don't have to suffer with reflux any longer. Contact Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Shivshanker!