Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: acid reflux

By HOUSTON DIGESTIVE DISEASES CONSULTANTS
December 21, 2018
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: acid reflux  

Do certain foods cause a burning feeling in your chest? It could be acid reflux!

At the start of your stomach is a valve, known as the lower esophageal sphincter. Once food passes through the stomach the job of the sphincter is to close. Of course, if the sphincter doesn’t close or opens too frequently then stomach acid may be able to enter the esophagus. When this happens acid reflux occurs. From the office of our Houston gastroenterologist Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker, find out more about acid reflux and how to get your symptoms under control.

How can I tell whether I have acid reflux?

The most common symptom associated with acid reflux is heartburn, which is characterized by a burning or gnawing feeling in your chest that is often felt within the throat, as well. Sometimes regurgitation occurs, in which you can feel the acid going back into the throat or mouth.

Other symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Burping
  • Persistent hiccups
  • Bloating
  • The sensation of food being stuck in your throat (known as dysphagia)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dry cough and hoarseness
  • Chronic sore throat

If you are noticing these symptoms rather regularly, particularly after eating then you could have acid reflux. In order to find out if it’s truly acid reflux, it’s important to visit your gastroenterologist in Houston for a proper diagnosis.

What causes acid reflux?

One such cause of acid reflux is a condition known as a hiatal hernia, where the stomach pushes through the muscles of the diaphragm. Besides a hiatal hernia, there are several factors that can also increase the likelihood of developing acid reflux.

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Eating a large meal
  • Lying down after eating
  • Eating close to bedtime
  • Consuming certain foods such as spicy or fatty foods, or citrus fruits
  • Smoking
  • Being pregnant
  • Drinking alcohol or caffeine

How can I treat acid reflux?

There are many ways in which to treat acid reflux, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you are only dealing with mild acid reflux or a bout of acid reflux you can often turn to an over-the-counter antacid to either prevent or treat your heartburn.

If you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, then you could have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Along with medications you can also make lifestyle changes to reduce your chances for acid reflux symptoms.

If OTC medications and lifestyle modifications don’t work, or if your GERD is severe, then a gastroenterologist may prescribe a stronger medication to reduce or even stop the production of stomach acid.

If you are dealing with acid reflux regularly and your symptoms aren’t being managed with over-the-counter medications, then it’s time to schedule a checkup with one of our Houston, TX, gastrointestinal professionals. Turn to the experts at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants for care.

By HOUSTON DIGESTIVE DISEASES CONSULTANTS
December 29, 2017
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: acid reflux  

Making a few simple changes can help you reduce painful and uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms. Our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, acid refluxDr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants, offers a few suggestions that will help you manage your acid reflux.

Avoid food triggers

Certain foods can cause acid reflux symptoms or make them worse. If you suffer from heartburn, bloating, a sour taste in your mouth, belching, nausea after eating, a "lump in the throat" sensation or other common reflux symptoms, avoid or limit these foods and drinks:

  • Carbonated or caffeinated beverages
  • Fatty or fried foods
  • Acidic foods, such as orange juice or tomato sauce
  • Mint
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Onions and garlic

Lose weight

Even a few extra pounds can put pressure on your abdomen and cause reflux. Maintaining a healthy weight offers many benefits, including the reduction of acid reflux symptoms.

Keep it loose

Tight belts or clothing may make your symptoms worse. If you suffer from reflux, loose clothing is best.

Stay upright after meals

Lying down soon after you eat makes it easier for acids to travel from your stomach into your esophagus. Luckily, it's easy to avoid the problem by avoiding reclining for at least two hours after a meal.

Raise the head of your bed

Are your acid reflux symptoms worse at night? Keeping your upper body elevated can be helpful. Raise the head of your bed by about six inches or sleep on a wedge-shaped cushion.

Eat smaller meals

The more food in your stomach, the greater the chance that you'll experience acid reflux symptoms. Decrease the risk by eating six smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones.

Visit a gastroenterologist

Do you frequently experience acid reflux symptoms even though you follow these tips? You may benefit from a visit to either of our Houston offices. Based on your symptoms and the results of diagnostic tests, we can recommend a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications that can neutralize, lower or block stomach acid production or help the contents of your stomach pass through the gastrointestinal tract faster.

Would you like to reduce your acid reflux symptoms? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shivshanker of Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants in his Houston, TX, offices by calling (713) 777-2555 for the Southwest Highway office or (713) 880-8707 for the N Loop W office.

By Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants
December 02, 2016
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: acid reflux  

Acid reflux is a digestive disease that affects approximately 7 million people in the United States. Caused by stomach acid that backs up acid refluxinto 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:

Hiatal hernia

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.

Certain foods

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.

Other causes

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!