Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Nasir Hanif
There is nothing delightful about the chest-burning sensation induced by acid reflux. Nonetheless, if it occurs occasionally, you could easily fix it with at-home care. However, when other symptoms accompany repeated acid reflux, you might have acquired gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD affects approximately 20% of the U.S. population, and symptoms differ from the periodic sensation of ‘heartburn.’ GERD / acid reflux Houston specialist Dr. Vikram S Jayanty insists on the importance of consulting a specialist for your GERD symptoms to prevent more serious concerns later. Meanwhile, check out this post to learn all you should know about GERD and acid reflux.
Table of Contents
What Is Acid Reflux?
The muscle that lies at the base of your esophagus is known as the esophageal sphincter. Typically, the muscle relaxes to allow liquid and food to enter the stomach, and then it contracts. Once the muscle does not function properly, stomach acid could leak upward, causing a burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn or acid reflux.
Chronic heartburn often could allow acid to erode the esophagus’s lining and generate issues like scar tissue constricting the esophagus. Other complications include peptic ulcers or even precancerous esophageal alterations.
What Are The Common GERD Symptoms?
GERD symptoms begin with regular heartburn and could also include the following:
- · Regurgitation (once stomach contents come back to the mouth)
- · Bloating
- · Burping
- · A bitter flavor on the tongue
- · Nausea
- · Sore throat, laryngitis, or hoarseness
- · Frequent dry coughing or throat clearing
- · Chest discomfort
- · Having difficulty swallowing or feeling like you have a lump in your throat
- · The erosion of dental enamel
- · Difficulties breathing
- · Asthma
What Are The Risk Factors For GERD?
Possessing some of the risk factors listed below increases your likelihood of developing GERD:
- · Consuming big portions or overeating
- · Being overweight
- · Consuming alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, citrus fruits, or carbonated beverages
- · Utilizing anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin
- · Pregnancy
- · Smoking
- · Having a hiatal hernia
How To Diagnose GERD?
To acquire a diagnosis of GERD, you will discuss your symptoms with your physician. Your physician will perform a physical examination and may request the following tests:
- Endoscopy: To see inside the stomach and esophagus, a flexible tube fastened with a tiny camera (endoscope) and light is placed down the throat. Throughout an endoscopy, a tissue sample (biopsy) might be obtained if necessary.
- Motility Testing: This test determines if your esophagus is functioning appropriately. Your doctor places a catheter through the nose and esophagus to access the stomach.
- PH Monitoring: This test measures the concentration of stomach acid in the esophagus.
How To Treat GERD?
There are numerous care solutions for GERD symptoms. To begin with, Dr. Jayanty may suggest lifestyle, and dietary changes to manage the common risk factors. For instance, you might have to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, consume smaller meal portions, or avoid eating spicy foods.
At the same time, your doctor may recommend medications, including antacids, Proton-pump inhibitors, and H-2 receptor blockers. Nonetheless, surgery might be appropriate if medications are ineffective or cause adverse effects.
Millions of individuals suffer from acid reflux and GERD concerns but often dismiss it for heartburn. If left untreated, GERD can trigger more severe complications, such as ulcers. Therefore, you should consult a gastroenterologist immediately if you observe any warning signs. Dr. Vikram S. Jayanty will assess your symptoms, identify your risk factors, and suggest the next steps based on your outcomes. Call the Houston, TX office or use the online booking tool to arrange an appointment today.