When the natural stomach acid produced during digestion reaches your esophagus, it causes what is known as Heartburn or Acid Reflux. It feels like stomach or chest pain, or possibly a burning sensation. You’ve most likely experienced this at some point in your life. It’s a common occurrence after eating very large meals or greasy foods. It’s only when you have heartburn all the time or every meal that you need to see a gastroenterologist.
Treatment for Mild Heartburn
Your gastroenterologist starts by focusing on your symptoms. These concentrate on prevention, with certain diet and lifestyle changes. You need to first start by evaluating what you eat.
Avoid these foods if you suffer from heartburn:
- Greasy and fatty foods
- Spicy foods
Antacids are over-the-counter stomach acid reducers that help when experiencing bouts of heartburn.
There are also risk factors for experiencing heartburn, including being overweight, smoking, pregnancy, and excessive alcohol intake.
Following certain guidelines is the ideal way to keep your heartburn at bay. These include eating smaller meals on a more frequent basis, avoiding lying down after eating, wearing loose clothing, and avoiding activities that involve bending down or lifting.
Heartburn as an Indicator of GERD
If heartburn is left to progress without intervention, it develops into gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You need to stop severe heartburn complications in their tracks. Otherwise, they result in severe inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus, scarring, and Barrett's esophagus. Cancer becomes a possibility without the help of a gastroenterologist.
Treatment for GERD
Treatment is a mixture of the preventive measures listed above alongside pharmaceuticals. Your gastroenterologist may prescribe medications known as PPIs or H2 blockers. These work to stop the overproduction of acid in the stomach. Alginate drugs are another option. They create a barrier within the stomach that protects it from stomach acid.
Antacids are the most popular and common over-the-counter treatment for heartburn. They provide a short-term reduction of stomach acidity. There are dozens of different brands and types of antacids. This includes formats like liquid, gels, and regular pills.
Consider contacting a gastroenterologist if you experience throat problems like soreness, pain when swallowing, nauseous, wheezing, a persistent cough, and bad breath. These are other common symptoms of GERD.