If you ever had a feeling of a burning liquid coming up to the back of your throat and pain in the upper chest area, you may have had a case of acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER). For some people it is acute, meaning that it happens every now and again, but in other cases, it is a chronic problem that can cause long-term disruption in the way you digest your food. Acid reflux affects up to 20 percent of Americans according to the National Institutes of Health and is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders diagnosed in patients. Learn why you shouldn't ignore your acid reflux and how to get it under control with the help of our gastroenterologist.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux, also sometimes called heartburn, is usually caused by eating certain foods and beverages, like spicy, citrusy, or fat-rich dishes as well as soda or coffee. Other possible causes include:
- Weakened esophagus.
- Aspirin and other medications.
- Stress and anxiety.
- A family history of acid reflux symptoms.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
There are a few key symptoms of acid reflux that you should look out for and talk to your doctor about if they persist:
- Persistent burning sensation in the throat or sore throat.
- Fluid coming up that feels like you might vomit.
- Frequent coughing.
- Burping often and odorous breath.
- Neck or chest discomfort.
Why You Shouldn't Ignore Acid Reflux
Without treatment and attention, acid reflux could progress into a more concerning condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD is a constant reflux of acids from the stomach into the esophagus that can lead to long-term damage to the tissues in your upper digestive tract.
Acid Reflux Treatment and Prevention
Your acid reflux can be reduced or halted with treatment and recommended dietary changes recommended by your gastroenterologist. Some of the most effective solutions include:
- Acid inhibitors (taken daily).
- Surgery to repair esophageal damage
- Change of eating times (no meals directly before bedtime).
- A thorough review of your daily nutrition and reduction of acidic or fatty foods.
Acid reflux may seem like a minor inconvenience for many, but over time it can become chronic and lead to more digestive problems. Pay attention to the symptoms now so that you can make necessary changes for relief now and in the future. Consult our gastroenterologist for more information about this condition and to learn about the latest treatments available.