Have you started to notice that some of your favorite foods are leaving you with a burning, gnawing in your chest? Have mealtimes become frustrating because it seems that everything seems to set off a sore throat, acidity in your mouth, food regurgitation or burning in the throat and chest? If so, then you might have heartburn (acid reflux). Don’t worry; our Lawrenceville, GA, gastroenterologist, Dr. Indran Indrakrishnan, will provide you with the answers you need.
What is heartburn?
Every time you eat your stomach produces acid, which helps break down food as it goes through the digestive tract. The acid should remain in the stomach; however, if you suffer from heartburn, the stomach acid will go back up the esophagus where it will burn and irritate the throat. If left untreated, this can lead to serious damage to the esophagus.
What triggers heartburn symptoms?
There are certain habits and foods that can make your heartburn symptoms flare-up. Habits such as when you eat, how much you eat, what time you eat and when you exercise can all trigger acid reflux.
Common triggers include:
- Eating large meals (particularly before bed)
- Consuming foods that are greasy, fatty or spicy
- Consuming alcohol and caffeinated beverages
- Exercising right after eating
- Taking certain medications (e.g. blood pressure medications)
It’s a good idea to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and to avoid eating about two hours before bedtime. You should also wait about two hours after eating before exercising.
Keep a journal of foods and drinks that trigger your heartburn so that you can avoid them whenever possible. If certain medications are causing acid reflux to flare-up then it’s a good idea to talk to our Lawrenceville GI doctor about your options.
How is heartburn treated?
If you are dealing with mild-to-moderate heartburn you may be able to alter your lifestyle and take over-the-counter heartburn medications to relieve your symptoms. Of course, those dealing with more severe symptoms may require prescription medications to reduce or even prevent the production of stomach acid to help the esophagus heal from damage.
If you suspect that you are dealing with acid reflux then it’s time you called Gwinnett Digestive Clinic in Lawrenceville, GA, to schedule an evaluation. Let’s figure out what’s causing your symptoms and help you manage these issues so that you can find the joy in mealtimes again.
Unattended acid reflux and heartburn can lead to esophageal cancer. In fact, GERD ( Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease ) is the number one cause of esophageal cancer. Dr. Indrakrishnan's GDC Endoscopy center does a new state-of-the-art brush cytology technique on patients with GERD to look for pre-cancer cells in the lining of the esophagus. If detected, this can be managed successfully without any surgery or chemotherapy. Please call the office for details.