That burning sensation you feel in your chest after you eat a little too much at your favorite restaurant is acid reflux. It’s normal to have acid reflux every once in a while. However, if you regularly have acid reflux, then you may have a more chronic condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Mehrdad Saliminejad, MD, at ProDigest Gastroenterology & Hepatology Associates in Lakewood and Long Beach, California, specializes in diagnosing and treating acid reflux and GERD. Schedule an appointment by calling the office most convenient to you or booking an appointment online today.
Acid reflux describes the acidic contents of your stomach regurgitating up into your esophagus. It occurs because the valve between your esophagus and stomach, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), is unable to properly close.
Occasional acid reflux is normal. However, if you have acid reflux two or more times a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic gastrointestinal condition.
When left untreated, the acidic regurgitation may damage your esophagus, causing esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), esophageal strictures (narrowing of the esophagus), Barrett’s esophagus (change in the tissue that lines the esophagus), or esophageal cancer.
Heartburn, a burning sensation behind your chest bone, is the most common symptom of acid reflux. Many people also experience acid regurgitation, or a sensation that stomach fluid is coming up into their throat and mouth.
Less common symptoms of acid reflux and GERD include:
Weakening of the LES or excess pressure on the LES may lead to acid reflux or GERD. You may also experience acid reflux if you have a hiatal hernia, which develops when a portion of your stomach protrudes through the opening in your diaphragm into your chest.
You should schedule a consultation with Dr. Saliminejad if your acid reflux is a common problem. Dr. Saliminejad conducts a comprehensive, patient-centered exam to provide the most accurate diagnosis.
He also performs an advanced upper endoscopy to evaluate your esophagus, look for signs of damage or disease, and take a biopsy of your tissue. Dr. Saliminejad may also perform pH testing, which measures acid content in your esophagus over a 24-hour period.
Dr. Saliminejad customizes your acid reflux treatment plan based on the frequency and severity of your symptoms. Initially, he may recommend diet and lifestyle changes to ease symptoms, such as:
Should symptoms persist, Dr. Saliminejad may recommend prescription H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors (PPI) to decrease acid production in your stomach.
Dr. Saliminejad recommends surgery for GERD only for patients with severe acid reflux symptoms and those who are unable to tolerate the medications.
Acid reflux is common, but it’s not a symptom you should ignore if it occurs on a regular basis. Call ProDigest Gastroenterology & Hepatology Associates or schedule an appointment online today.