If you experience recurrent bouts of heartburn or acid reflux, you’re not alone. Many Americans experience this burning pain for a variety of reasons. But there is help. If you experience acid reflux often, a visit to your East Meadow gastroenterologist Dr. Omer K. Masood may help relieve your discomfort.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
At the end of your esophagus, at the opening to your stomach, there is a valve that opens and closes to let food pass into the stomach and keep it there. Occasionally this valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter, does not close which causes stomach acid to rise up and burn the sensitive lining of your esophagus. Common causes of this esophageal dysfunction include:
- Hiatal hernia
- Certain medications
- Spicy or acidic foods
- Lying down after eating a large meal
Symptoms Associated with Acid Reflux
If you are experiencing acid reflux, you may feel more than heartburn. You may also experience a sore throat, foul taste in your mouth, and excessive hiccupping. You might also notice nausea, weight loss, or vomiting. If you experience these symptoms, seek care from your East Meadow gastroenterologist Dr. Masood.
Risks of Acid Reflux
Aside from the symptoms of acid reflux such as pain and sickness, chronic acid reflux can have more severe and life-threatening effects. Prolonged reflux can damage the lining of the esophagus causing dysphagia, or a difficulty in swallowing food. Untreated acid reflux can even lead to bleeding ulcers, scarring that damages the function of the esophagus, and esophageal cancer.
What to Do
If you suffer from acid reflux more than twice a week, your gastroenterologist may be able to help resolve your symptoms or help you learn which events trigger an acid reflux episode. They may offer advice on diet or eating routines that could help limit the triggers.
If you are a smoker, quitting tobacco can help relieve acid reflux. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about getting to a healthier weight. Avoid eating close to bedtime and try smaller meals. Take note if certain foods bother you such as chocolate, onions, or garlic and avoid those if they seem to be a trigger.
If you’ve tried home remedies without success or if you’re experiencing excessive weight loss, vomiting, or trouble swallowing, see your gastroenterologist right away. Dr. Omer K. Masood and the gastroenterology staff at Digestive Care NY in East Meadow can offer diagnosis and treatment for your acid reflux. Schedule an appointment for a consultation today.