Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: acid reflux

July 22, 2021
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: acid reflux  

How your gastroenterologists in Houston, TX, can help you feel better

Heartburn is a common issue, especially if you like spicy food, but frequent heartburn could be something else. You could have acid reflux. Fortunately, your gastroenterologist can help.

The gastroenterologists at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants in Houston, TX, offer a wide range of GI services, including treatment for acid reflux to help you feel better.

Acid reflux is caused when the sphincter muscle separating your stomach from your esophagus is not working properly. This sphincter muscle keeps stomach acid from coming up into your esophagus. When the sphincter muscle doesn’t close completely, stomach acid flows up into your esophagus, causing uncomfortable symptoms.

You may have acid reflux if you experience:

  • Frequent sore throats
  • A sour taste in your mouth
  • Frequent bad breath
  • Chronic coughing or wheezing
  • Chest pain, nausea, or vomiting

If left untreated, acid reflux can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD. Over 60 million people in this country suffer from GERD, and if you are one of them, you may suffer long-term damage to your esophagus. GERD can cause esophageal inflammation, ulcers, scarring, or even esophageal cancer.

You can minimize acid reflux symptoms if you:

  • Eat small meals
  • Avoid eating before bed
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
  • Limit spicy or acidic foods
  • Take over-the-counter antacids

For moderate to severe acid reflux symptoms, it's best to visit your gastroenterologist. Professional treatments for acid reflux include prescription-strength antacids and other medications to lower acid production and protect your esophagus and gastrointestinal system.

If you suffer from acid reflux, your gastroenterologist can help you feel better. To find out more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of acid reflux, talk with the experts by calling the gastroenterologists of Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants in Houston, TX. You can reach them at (713) 777-2555, so call today!

May 27, 2021
Category: GI Care
Tags: acid reflux  

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.

January 19, 2021
Category: GI Care
Tags: acid reflux  

Acid Reflux is when the digestive acids that sit in the stomach manage to leak through the sphincter at the top of the stomach, back into the esophagus. When this happens, individuals often feel burning sensations in their stomach, and sometimes the sensation is intense enough to interfere with digestion and appetite. The staff at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants in Houston, TX, understands how troublesome these symptoms are and can help you get the treatment you need.

How Do I Treat Acid Reflux?

Some ways to treat acid reflux include:

Maintaining a healthy weight.

Those who are obese tend to have more instances of acid reflux because the extra mass pushes down on their stomach and forces the sphincter open.

Consuming smaller meals.

Overeating is another reason the sphincter of a person’s stomach stayed open. Eating smaller meals relieves the stress of having to digest a large meal and often results in more thorough assimilation and absorption.

Prescription medication.

Your primary doctor or specialist may give a prescription to neutralize the acid that builds in the stomach and irritates the lining of the esophagus.

Over the counter meds.

Many pharmacies carry products that soothe the burning. These meds can be in liquid or pill form.

Avoid wearing tight clothing.

Wearing garments with tight belts, shirts, and other kinds of clothing can impede the efficacy of your digestion and give you acid reflux. The good news is that acid reflux caused by this is easily fixed.

Quit smoking and drinking

Smoking relaxes the valve that keeps the chewed food into the stomach, thereby allowing the food to leak out. Alcohol is a known irritant that can make an uncomfortable situation worse.

The associates at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants will be happy to relay any more details concerning treating acid reflux. If you have chronic heartburn in Houston, TX, and would like to set up an appointment for treatment, call us at 713-777-2555.

May 08, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: acid reflux  

Our four gastroenterologists at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants in Houston, TX? Our four gastroenterologists see many patients with intense heartburn. Learn more about what your symptoms may mean here.

What is GERD?

GI experts at the Cleveland Clinic report that a full 20 percent of Americans suffer from GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Commonly called heartburn or acid reflux, GERD features repeated and persistent:

  • Burning pain in the chest area--specifically, the esophagus or food pipe
  • Regurgitation of stomach acid and stomach contents
  • Indigestion
  • Problems swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Hoarseness

Usually, GERD is worse after meals and after going to bed, particularly if you lie flat on your back as you sleep. Some people wake up with regurgitation and pain.

Why do people get GERD?

The Cleveland Clinic further explains that most people age 40 and older have some degree of acid reflux disease. Over time, the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach becomes incompetent and allows a backwash of acid into the food pipe.

Some people also have a hiatal hernia, a bulging of the stomach through the diaphragm, the muscle which assists the lungs in breathing. Smoking, being pregnant, and obesity contribute to reflux, too.

Should you see a gastroenterologist?

At Houston Digestive Disease Consultants, our physicians wish to see patients when their symptoms are persistent, particularly if you experience unintended weight loss and problems with swallowing. Unfortunately, GERD can lead to stomach and esophageal erosions (ulcers) and strictures and a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett's Esophagus.

Consult with one of our GI doctors for a physical exam and review of your symptoms and medical/prescription history. Depending on your unique case, he may recommend imaging tests such as endoscopy, which visualizes the interior of the food pipe, or esophageal monometry, which evaluates how well the esophageal sphincter operates.

Treating acid reflux

In his Houston office, your gastroenterologist will tailor a treatment plan aimed at symptom reduction and prevention of serious, long-term problems. Aspects common to many plans are:

  • Weight reduction
  • Diet modification (less chocolate, coffee, fatty/acidic foods)
  • Medications (H2 agonists or proton pump inhibitors)
  • No smoking
  • Raising the head of the bed six to eight inches
  • Wearing clothes which are loose at the waist
  • Limiting alcohol

Find out more

At Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants, our gastroenterologists handle a wide range of GI problems. With their help, you can manage your acid reflux symptoms. Call one of our three locations for an informative and helpful consultation. Phone the Memorial Hermann Southwest location at (713) 777-2555. For Simon Tower, call (713) 796-8627, and for the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights office, phone (713) 880-8707.  

December 03, 2019
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: acid reflux  

Are spicy foods leaving you with a burning sensation in the back of your throat? It could be acid reflux.

Most people will deal with acid reflux at some point during their lifetime. This digestive problem often results in a burning sensation within acid refluxthe chest and throat that most often occurs after eating. Read on to learn more about acid reflux's warning signs, and when it's appropriate to turn to our Houston gastroenterologist, Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker, for care and for help in managing the occasional bouts of acid reflux on your own.


What causes acid reflux?

There are certain conditions or habits that could increase your risk for acid reflux. Some of these factors include,

  • Having a hiatal hernia
  • Eating a large meal
  • Lying down immediately after eating
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Eating close to bedtime
  • Eating spicy, fatty and acidic foods
  • Drinking alcohol, coffee, or carbonated beverages
  • Smoking
  • Being pregnant


How do I know that I have acid reflux?

You could be dealing with acid reflux if you experience,

  • A burning sensation in your stomach that may travel up to your throat (known as heartburn)
  • A sour taste or acid traveling up your throat (referred to as regurgitation)
  • Frequent burping
  • Bloating after meals
  • Hoarseness or a persistent sore throat
  • The sensation of food stuck in your throat


When should I see a doctor?

It’s time to consult with our Houston gastroenterologist if you’ve been experiencing acid reflux for more than two times a week or if over-the-counter medications haven’t alleviated your symptoms. It is important that you get the treatment you need to manage your symptoms, as untreated acid reflux can lead to serious esophageal damage. You should also see your doctor right away if you are experiencing severe heartburn.


How is acid reflux treated?

Most people see amazing results and a reduction in their acid reflux just by making minor lifestyle adjustments. Avoiding foods and drinks that can trigger symptoms can greatly reduce heartburn symptoms. Other lifestyle changes that can improve acid reflux disease include:

  • Eater smaller and more frequent meals over larger meals
  • Quitting smoking
  • Losing excess weight
  • Raising the head of your bed while you sleep
  • Not eating about 2-3 hours before going to bed
  • Avoiding alcohol, soda, and caffeine

Along with lifestyle modifications, your gastroenterologist may also prescribe medication that can reduce or even completely block the production of acid within the stomach. Those with minor symptoms may respond to simple over-the-counter medications, while those with more severe symptoms may need a prescription antacid, H2 blocker or proton pump inhibitor.


Need relief? Give us a call

Are you living with acid reflux right now? If you are having trouble getting your acid reflux under control with over-the-counter medications or if you are concerned about the symptoms you are experiencing, turn to the experts at Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants by dialing (713) 777-2555.

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.

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!