Many people get heartburn on occasion after eating certain foods, but if it’s a regular occurrence, you may have acid reflux disease. Leading gastroenterologists Bharat Sanghavi, MD, Moushumi Sanghavi, MD, and Samantha Nazareth, MD, are experienced in treating acid reflux at their practice, Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park, in New York City. If you have acid reflux and want help, click or call today to schedule an appointment.
There’s a valve at the entrance to your stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, when you swallow, the LES relaxes to allow the food or liquid into your stomach and then closes. However, when the LES doesn’t close properly, your stomach acid can flow into your esophagus, a process known as acid reflux.
Acid reflux causes a burning sensation in the chest, which results from stomach acid irritating your esophagus. You may know this sensation as heartburn. If you get heartburn on occasion, it’s not necessarily a cause for concern. Behaviors that can cause or aggravate acid reflux include:
Eating high-fat or fried foods
Eating large meals
Eating late at night and lying down after eating
Drinking caffeinated beverages
If you have acid reflux more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease. In addition to frequent heartburn, signs of acid reflux disease include the feeling of a sour liquid creeping into your throat or mouth and difficulty swallowing.
If you have acid reflux disease, your doctor will help you make changes in your diet and lifestyle, starting with avoiding the foods and beverages that can cause acid reflux. Other lifestyle changes that can help with acid reflux include:
Eating small, frequent meals
Avoiding lying down right after eating
Elevating the head of your bed
These changes, when combined with over-the-counter antacids, are sometimes enough to manage the symptoms of acid reflux. However, your doctor at Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park may also prescribe medications to reduce how much acid your stomach produces or to heal and strengthen your esophagus.
If you have acid reflux, your doctor will screen you for Barrett’s esophagus, which develops in some people who have acid reflux disease. Occasionally, when acid inflames the esophagus over time, the tissue lining the esophagus will change to more closely resemble intestinal tissue.
Barrett’s esophagus doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms, but it does mean you’re at greater risk of developing esophageal cancer. However, through early detection, and by treating your acid reflux, your doctor can prevent Barrett’s esophagus from developing into cancer.
If your doctor discovers you have Barrett’s esophagus, they’ll closely monitor your condition. In addition to helping you successfully manage your acid reflux and limit irritation to your esophagus, they may recommend treatments to replace or destroy the abnormal tissue.
If you’re regularly experiencing acid reflux, call or click to schedule an appointment with Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park today.