Could your persistent heartburn actually be gastroesophageal reflux disease?

Have you ever noticed a burning or gnawing in your throat and chest after eating something spicy? If so, then you’re no stranger to gerdheartburn. While the occasional bout of heartburn really isn’t much more than a nuisance if it’s happening regularly then you might actually have a condition known as GERD. From the office of our Wesley Chapel, FL, gastroenterologist Dr. Saeed Ahmed, find out more about GERD.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a disorder of the digestive tract that causes weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, leading to stomach acid and sometimes food being regurgitated into the throat. Over time this can lead to damage to the esophageal and laryngeal tissues.

What are the signs and symptoms of GERD?

The classic warning sign of GERD is heartburn, as well as regurgitation of food and stomach acid in the throat or mouth. In some cases, GERD may even cause chest pain or make you feel like you have something stuck in your throat.

When should I see a doctor?

If you are dealing with severe or persistent heartburn then it’s time to see our Wesley Chapel, FL, GI doctor to find out what’s going on. We will discuss the symptoms you are experiencing to determine whether you may have GERD. In some cases, a barium esophagram may be performed. This x-ray allows us to see how both the sphincter and esophagus function to see if there are issues swallowing.

What are my treatment options?

There are several ways in which to treat GERD. The first line of defense will include making changes to your lifestyle and diet to reduce your risk for heartburn. These changes include:

  • Avoiding certain foods such as alcohol, coffee, and spicy and acidic foods
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Avoiding lying down immediately after eating
  • Maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding eating 2-3 hours before bedtime

Along with lifestyle modifications your doctor may also prescribe medications that either block or reduce acid production within the stomach to help heal damage to tissue and to reduce GERD flare-ups both during and after meals. Those with minor symptoms may be able to get the relief they need from over-the-counter antacids.

Are you finding that mealtimes are being ruined by persistent heartburn? If so, then it’s time to find out how to get your symptoms under control. Call Digestive Disease Associates of Central Florida in Wesley Chapel, FL, to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Ahmed.

Wesley Chapel, FL Gastroenterologist Digestive Disease Associates of Central Florida 2050 Ashley Oaks Circle Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 (813) 994-4800
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