Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD or acid reflux, is the chronic and frequent backflow of acid coming from the stomach up into the esophagus. This occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle that’s responsible for keeping acids in the stomach from flowing back up, fails to close correctly. When this happens, the acids will irritate your esophageal lining, which causes heartburn, among other bothersome symptoms.
Over time, acid reflux can result in complications and might aggravate underlying medical problems like asthma. This is why seeing your gastroenterologist here at Gastro Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, for proper acid reflux treatment is crucial.
How Do I Know If I Have Acid Reflux?
Recurrent heartburn is among the most common warning sign of acid reflux. The discomfort, burning sensation, or pain usually manifests in the chest and occurs right after eating, which could persist for several hours. It might likewise worsen at night. But some individuals with acid reflux don’t experience heartburn. That being said, below are other acid reflux symptoms to look out for:
- Foul breath, recurrent laryngitis, hoarseness, chronic cough
- Tooth enamel wear
- Worsening or new symptoms of asthma or breathing issues
- Issues with swallowing, choking, throat tightness, or a sensation of having a lump in your throat
- Constant acid backflow but without pain or burning
If you experience any of these regularly, visit your gastroenterologist in Lima, OH, to determine if you have acid reflux. You should likewise visit your gastroenterologist if you use OTC medications more than twice a week for heartburn relief. Left unaddressed, acid reflux could lead to more complications like esophageal cancer and Barrett’s esophagus. Your risk of developing complications also increases the longer you leave your condition untreated.
How is Acid Reflux Treated?
Besides lifestyle modifications, acid reflux treatment also typically involves prescription and OTC meds and surgery. Medications can include a combination of the following:
- Antacids for neutralizing stomach acids as fast as possible.
- H2 blockers for minimizing acid production.
- Proton pump inhibitors for blocking acid production. These are more potent than H2 blockers.
- Pro-motility or prokinetic agents for helping the stomach empty faster as well as reduce pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter.
Surgical intervention might be an option when you can’t manage your symptoms with the treatments mentioned above, or if you’re experiencing long-term adverse effects from medications.
Speak to Us For More Questions, Advice, or Concerns About Acid Reflux
Set a meeting here at Gastro Intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, with one of our gastroenterologists by dialing (419) 227-8209.