At Gastro-intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, our team of gastroenterologists see and treat a common digestive problem: heartburn. Also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, heartburn can, and should, be managed for better GI health.
The details on heartburn
If you have frequent heartburn, you're not alone. Approximately 60 million adults in the United States do, says the American College of Gastroenterology. Usually described as a burning pain behind the breastbone, GERD happens when stomach contents back up into the esophagus, resulting in:
- Extreme discomfort after meals and at bedtime
- Food entrapment in the esophagus
- Bad breath
- Chronic, hacking cough
- Nausea and vomiting
Many heartburn sufferers have a hiatal hernia, a protrusion of part of the stomach through the diaphragm. Others experience heartburn repeatedly because of:
- A diet high in fats and acidic foods
- Tight clothes
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A poorly functioning sphincter between the stomach and esophagus
Diagnosis and treatment of heartburn
Whatever the reason for your heartburn symptoms, you should investigate them to avoid more serious problems such as stomach ulcers or a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett's esophagus.
At Gastro-intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, your GI physician will review your heartburn symptoms and possibly do an endoscopic examination with a lighted tube and camera. It's important to visualize the interior of the upper GI tract to look for areas of erosion, bleeding or polyps which could be cancerous. The doctor can take tissue samples for biopsy as needed and also discover structural abnormalities, such as a hiatal hernia.
Your treatment plan for heartburn will fit your unique GI needs. The doctor may advise:
- Losing weight
- Quitting all tobacco products
- Limiting your alcohol intake
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals
- Wearing clothing which fits loosely at the waist
- Reducing the intake of spicy, fatty and acidic foods
- Taking proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec), H2 antagonists (Pepcid) or antacids daily
Feel your very best
With the help of the caring team at Gasto-intestinal Associates in Lima, OH, you can manage heartburn for better GI health and overall well-being. For a consultation with one of our highly-qualified physicians, please call the office at (419) 227-8209.