Getting heartburn on occasion is normal, but if you consistently get it or feel like you might throw up after your meals, you might have acid reflux or a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). At Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, John Brandt, MD, and J. Steven Mathews, MD, offer diagnostic procedures, nutritional guidance, and treatment strategies to help reduce your acid reflux instances. Call the office or book your appointment with the online scheduling feature today.
Acid reflux is a common gastroenterological condition that happens when your stomach acid begins to flow back up into your esophagus as you digest your food. Stomach acid is primarily made of hydrochloric acid, which helps break down your food and kills bacteria in the process.
The inside of your stomach has a special lining that protects it from disintegrating when it’s exposed to hydrochloric acid. Your esophagus has no such lining, so the acid can damage it over time with many instances of acid reflux.
If instances of acid reflux occur more than twice per week for you, you may have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they’re different in that GERD is more serious and long-term.
Acid reflux comes with a number of indicative signs and symptoms that usually arise shortly after a meal. You might experience:
These symptoms often get worse when you lie down horizontally, so it’s best to eat several hours before you go to bed.
When you arrive at Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center, your physician asks about your symptoms and how often you notice them. You’ll undergo a physical examination, and they may request an endoscopy to view your esophagus.
Our office also offers Bravo testing, which is 48 hour pH testing for atypical GERD and is one of the few clinics in the state that offers this type of testing
Improving your acid reflux is often as simple as making a few lifestyle changes. You may see some improvement for your condition if you lose weight, stop smoking, or even focus on improving your posture.
At Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center, the team evaluates your case to choose the best approach to treatment. Your acid reflux treatment plan might include:
Avoiding certain foods that trigger your acid reflux can help stop you from getting the symptoms. Certain substances like caffeine, alcohol, salt, and carbonated beverages are known to aggravate acid reflux.
Your physician may recommend over-the-counter medications like antacids to help manage your condition. If you’ve already tried these, they may prescribe other medications like alginate drugs, which form a barrier of foam on the surface of your stomach acid that prevents it from flowing up your esophagus.
In severe cases of GERD, the team may refer you for surgery.
If your acid reflux symptoms are causing discomfort or breathing problems, call Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center or book your appointment online today.