Acid Reflux Symptoms and When to See a Gastroenterologist

Dealing with acid reflux? Here’s how we can help…

You love Taco Tuesday. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to love you back. Now you are dealing with the burning and discomfort of heartburn. We’ve all been there; however, if acid reflux and heartburn seem to be all too commonplace for you these days, then it may be time to turn to our Flemington, NJ, gastroenterologist Dr. Anubha Sinha for answers and treatment options.

What is acid reflux?

The stomach produces acid that helps to break down food. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a bundle of muscle that opens up to allow food into the stomach, but closes to prevent the food from traveling back into the esophagus; however, if the LES is damaged or weak it may not close, which can cause acid and bile to travel back through the throat, resulting in acid reflux.

Is acid reflux dangerous?

If you have the occasional bout of acid reflux it may certainly be unpleasant but it’s usually nothing to worry about; however, if you are dealing with severe symptoms that are affecting what you eat, your symptoms occur two or more times a week or you are popping antacids every day, it’s time to see our Flemington, NJ, gastroenterologist. After all, recurring and persistent acid reflux is often a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and untreated GERD can lead to more serious issues.

How does a gastroenterologist treat acid reflux?

If you have acid reflux but you’re not dealing with GERD, then simple lifestyle modifications can help reduce heartburn episodes. These lifestyle changes include,

  • Losing weight, if overweight or obese
  • Eating smaller but more frequent meals rather than larger meals
  • Quitting tobacco and smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol, chocolate, greasy or spicy foods, tomatoes and other trigger foods and drinks
  • Not lying down immediately after eating
  • Not eating 2-3 hours before bedtime

These habits along with the occasional use of certain over-the-counter medications designed to treat heartburn may be able to help you if you deal with irregular bouts of heartburn. However, if you have GERD, you will require different care.

While lifestyle modifications will remain the same for those with GERD, the medications used to treat this condition will be different from those that help with occasional heartburn symptoms. After all, the goal of GERD treatment is not only to manage heartburn and acid reflux but also to give the lining of the esophagus time to heal. Common medications prescribed to treat GERD include proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers (also referred to as H2 receptor antagonists).

Our gastroenterologist Dr. Sinha and the team at Hunterdon Digestive Health Specialists are ready to welcome you to their Flemington and Hillsborough, NJ, practices. If you are dealing with recurring or severe acid reflux, call us at (908) 788-8200 to schedule an evaluation.

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