Acid reflux burns the sensitive tissues lining your esophagus and can lead to long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The accomplished doctors at Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants in Santa Ana and Irvine, California, specialize in helping people with problems like acid reflux. With their help, you can control acid reflux and prevent long-term damage. Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online to benefit from their expert acid reflux treatment.
Acid reflux (acid indigestion or heartburn) causes a burning pain in your chest. It develops when stomach acid travels (refluxes) up your esophagus (the pipe connecting your throat and stomach).
When you swallow, food or drink goes down the esophagus into your stomach through a muscular ring — the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES stops food and stomach acid from escaping the stomach by closing when food enters the stomach.
Stomach acid starts breaking down food to begin digestion. This acid is powerful, but the tissues lining your stomach can withstand its effects. The lining of your esophagus isn’t designed to cope with stomach acid, so when it refluxes, the acid burns your esophagus.
The defining acid reflux symptom is heartburn. Other common acid reflux symptoms include:
Acid reflux isn’t a severe problem; most people suffer from it occasionally. But if it becomes a chronic condition (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD), it can damage the tissues lining your esophagus. Untreated GERD can result in tissue changes (Barrett’s esophagus) that could eventually cause esophageal cancer.
Your Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants doctor diagnoses acid reflux based on your symptoms. If they suspect you have GERD or Barrett’s esophagus, they can perform an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy). This involves having an endoscope (long, flexible pipe) down your throat that your doctor uses to view the inflamed tissues.
Acid reflux’s most common causes include:
Pregnancy causes acid reflux that gets worse as the baby grows and presses on your internal organs.
Your Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants doctor is likely to recommend addressing the unhealthy habits causing acid reflux. This could include eating a healthy diet, avoiding food and drink that triggers or worsens acid reflux attacks, losing weight, and stopping smoking.
Over-the-counter antacids help with mild acid reflux. More severe symptoms require medicines like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to reduce stomach acid production.
These treatments are successful for most patients. But those with GERD or esophageal cancer might need surgery.
Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online for effective acid reflux treatment.