Do you suffer from heartburn? It's that uncomfortable, after-meal pain in the center of your chest. If it happens frequently, you should see Dr. Saeed Ahmed at Digestive Associates of Central Florida in Wesley Chapel. Also called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, heartburn can have serious ramifications if not treated. Read more about this common GI problem.
The details on GERD
GERD happens with repeated regurgitation of stomach contents into the esophagus. People who are obese, eat a lot of spicy foods, smoke or abuse alcohol are prone to repeated attacks of heartburn. The strong acids damage the tender lining of the esophagus.
While many people have only occasional bouts of heartburn after overindulging in irritating foods, some individuals are chronically uncomfortable or have pain that is so bad, they feel they are having a heart attack. Additionally, GERD aggravates chronic conditions such as asthma, and some people struggle with persistent bad breath, or halitosis, excessive amounts of saliva, hoarseness, and even ear pain.
What should you do about GERD?
Consult with Dr. Saaed Ahmed in his Wesley Chapel office. He'll do a physical examination, take a medical history and review your GERD symptoms. Tell him what starts your attacks of heartburn, where the pain is located and what, if anything, helps relieve it.
Then, the doctor may order an endoscopic examination of your esophagus and stomach to look for ulcerations and structural abnormalities, such as a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when a small portion of the top of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm, or abdominal muscle which assists in breathing.
Endoscopic examination involves the introduction of a thin, flexible, and lighted tube into the esophagus. A tiny camera gives the doctor real time images of the lining of your GI tract.
Additionally, Dr. Ahmed may wish to perform pH testing. This examination uses a tiny monitor placed in the food pipe during endoscopy. It measures the level of acidity in the esophagus, helping the physician determine the best course of treatment.
Treatments for GERD
You may need prescription h2 receptor antagonists (Zantac) or proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec) to reduce stomach acidity. However, Dr. Ahmed also recommends lifestyle changes such as:
A happy GI tract
If your heartburn persists, please contact Digestive Associates of Central Florida. Dr. Ahmed and his team will uncover the source of the problem and help you manage it. For a one-on-one consultation in Wesley Chapel, FL, call (813) 994-4800.