Do you often experience heartburn, belching, or nausea? Acid reflux may be to blame for your symptoms. Fortunately, your Houston, TX, gastroenterologists at Houston Digestive Disease Consultants offer treatments that will ease your uncomfortable symptoms.
What causes acid reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids flow back into your esophagus, the tube that carries food to your stomach. The acid irritates the sensitive lining of the esophagus, causing burning pain, bloating, nausea, belching, or an uncomfortably full sensation. Acid reflux can occur if the sphincter that separates the stomach from the esophagus is weak or doesn't close completely.
You may be more likely to experience acid reflux symptoms if you're obese or take medications to treat depression, high blood pressure, asthma, Parkinson's disease, and other conditions. Other risk factors include pregnancy, the presence of a hiatal hernia, asthma, diabetes, or a connective tissue disorder.
Is it acid reflux or GERD?
Your acid reflux could be related to gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). You might have GERD if your acid reflux symptoms affect or interfere with your daily life or you have reflux symptoms more than twice a week. If you have GERD, you may experience
- More saliva than usual
- Bad breath
- Hoarse voice
- Frequent earaches
- Sore throat
- Chronic cough
- Sour taste in your mouth
- A feeling that something is stuck in your throat
- Worsening of asthma symptoms
How is acid reflux treated?
Whether you have acid reflux or GERD, making a few lifestyle changes can help you control the uncomfortable symptoms. Lying down should be avoided for a few hours after eating, as this position makes it easier for acid to travel back into the esophagus.
Other helpful strategies include losing weight, avoiding tight clothes or tight belts, raising the head of your bed, and reducing or eliminating foods that may trigger acid reflux, such as fried or fatty foods, foods that contain acids, onion, chocolate, caffeine, garlic, and alcohol.
During your visit to the Houston gastroenterology office, your gastroenterologist can recommend medications that can decrease your symptoms. Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers lower the amount of acid your stomach makes, while prokinetic drugs improve the strength of the sphincter and help food pass through your stomach quickly.
Before prescribing or recommending medication, your doctor may want to perform an endoscopy, a test that uses a miniature camera to examine your esophagus and stomach.
Are you struggling with acid reflux? Call your gastroenterologist at Houston Digestive Disease in Houston, TX, at (713) 777-2555 to schedule your appointment.