While acid reflux may seem like a minor inconvenience, it can damage your esophagus and lead to severe complications without treatment. But acid reflux is easy to control when working alongside an experienced gastroenterologist like Jonathan I. Warman, MD of the Upper East Side, in New York City. To prevent the risk of serious complications, call or book an appointment online with Dr. Warman online today.
At the bottom of your esophagus -- and the entrance of your stomach -- is a ring of specialized muscle tissue called the lower esophageal sphincter. This sphincter protects your esophagus from your stomach's caustic environment.
The sphincter may occasionally remain open after passing food, or it may open more often than it should. When that happens, stomach acid can back up into your esophagus and cause discomfort and even severe damage. That is acid reflux.
Heartburn happens to everyone on occasion, but heartburn symptoms that occur more than twice a week may signify an acid reflux disease. Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) is one such chronic reflux disease. If left untreated, GERD can cause:
GERD is diagnosed in more than 3 million Americans each year. Though the disease is chronic, making lifestyle changes and avoiding your specific triggers can manage symptoms.
Smoking, stress, and an unhealthy diet can all cause stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. Certain foods can exacerbate symptoms as well. These foods include:
The physical pressure exerted on the stomach caused by body positioning, excess weight, constipation, or pregnancy can also contribute to acid reflux symptoms.
At your first appointment, Dr. Warman will discuss your medical history and your acid reflux symptoms. This information will assist him in developing the best treatment plan for you.
Since lifestyle changes can manage many acid reflux symptoms, Dr. Warman will likely recommend alterations in your diet or a stress management program.
Besides lifestyle changes, Dr. Warman may also recommend certain medications. These may include proton-pump inhibitors, which reduce stomach acid production, or antacids, which lower the acidity of stomach acid.
In some cases, Dr. Warman may suggest surgery to tighten your lower esophageal sphincter and keep stomach acid from reaching your esophagus.
If you’re ready to discuss your heartburn symptoms and treatment options, call the office or book an appointment online today.