Posts for tag: 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
- Problems swallowing
- Bad breath
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.
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 the 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
- 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.
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:
- Persistent hiccups
- 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
- 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.
Making a few simple changes can help you reduce painful and uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms. Our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. 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
- Onions and garlic
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.
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!