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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.

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