Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: GERD

By Digestive Medicine Associates
February 20, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: GERD   Heartburn  

If you experience heartburn or acid reflux symptoms at least twice a week, this is often a common sign that you may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This condition can have dangerous and painful consequences and is best treatable by a gastroenterologist. At Digestive Medicine Associates, we are a gastroenterology practice devoted to serving patients in Hialeah/Miami Lakes, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, and Kendall, FL. If you’re looking for advanced and comprehensive GI patient care, our professionals can accurately diagnose GERD symptoms and create a treatment plan depending on the severity.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid or bile irritates the esophagus lining. The condition occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter - the valve between the stomach and esophagus - doesn't close properly. When acids from the stomach attack this muscle, it weakens, and they disrupt its conventional defense mechanisms.

Signs and Symptoms

Adults who notice acid indigestion may be experiencing mild symptoms of GERD without realizing it. Also known as heartburn, the person may feel a burning sensation behind the breastbone after consuming spicy, greasy, or fatty foods, as well as alcohol, or caffeinated beverages. Less common implications that occur include a sore throat, cough, chest pain, or wheezing. Untreated GERD will result in long-term consequences, such as damage to the esophagus from bleeding or inflammation. You can also raise your risk of developing a painful ulcer.

Diagnosis and Treatment

GERD is treatable, but there is no cure. At Digestive Medicine Associates, our professionals can determine if you have the condition by performing one of two minimally-invasive procedures at one of our four locations in the Miami, FL, area. Our gastroenterologist may recommend an upper endoscopy to examine the esophagus or conduct a pH test to measure acid levels. Mild reflux symptoms often disappear with dietary and lifestyle changes. Should symptoms persist, causing aggravation and discomfort, you may benefit from over-the-counter antacids or safe and effective prescription medication.

At Digestive Medicine Associates, all of our professionals stay informed about the latest trends in the medical field and maintain the highest levels of accreditation to make you feel as comfortable and confident as possible when choosing our office. For more information about understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), other conditions we treat and services provided by our gastroenterologist, visit our website. Please call (305) 822-4107 for appointment scheduling at one of our four locations in the Miami, FL, area. These include offices in Hialeah/Miami Lakes, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, and Kendall, FL.

By Digestive Medicine Associates
October 21, 2019
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: GERD   Heartburn  

Whenever you eat spicy foods do you know that you’ll be suffering for it shortly after? Do you find that heartburn keeps you up at night or makes it impossible to enjoy a lot of your favorite foods? Do you suffer from heartburn symptoms more often than not? If so then you may be dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder in which food and stomach acid travel back into the esophagus. Over time the stomach’s acidity can wear away at the lining of the esophagus and cause irritation.

Someone with GERD will not only experience heartburn on a regular basis but also may have difficulty or pain when swallowing. Since the acid continues to travel back through the esophagus this can lead to persistent or recurring sore throats, as well as a dry cough or changes in your voice (e.g. hoarseness). You may even feel some of your food (as well as the stomach acid) travel back up through your throat.

If you find yourself taking a heartburn medication more than twice a week or if your symptoms are severe then this is the perfect time to turn to a GI doctor who can find a better way to manage your symptoms. If over-the-counter remedies aren’t cutting it then a gastroenterologist will prescribe a stronger medication. Some medications work by reducing acid production while other medications prevent acid production altogether to give the esophagus time to heal.

While most people find that their GERD symptoms can be properly controlled with over-the-counter or prescription medications, there are some people who still don’t find the relief they want or those who don’t want to use medications for the rest of their lives. If this is the case, there are also certain surgical procedures that can be recommended to help improve how the lower esophageal sphincter functions to prevent food and stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

Of course, there are some simple lifestyle modifications that can also help. Besides maintaining a healthy weight, it’s important to avoid certain foods that can trigger your symptoms (e.g. caffeine; alcohol; chocolate). When you do eat try to eat smaller meals and avoid eating right before bedtime. If you are a smoker, you will want to strongly consider quitting.

If you have questions about GERD and managing your heartburn symptoms then it’s time you turned to a gastroenterologist who can diagnose you with this digestive disease and then create a tailored treatment plan to help make mealtimes less painful.

By Digestive Medicine Associates
September 28, 2018
Category: GI Care

Unfortunately, many of us eat the foods we crave before thinking about how it affects our digestive health. Your digestive health is directly impacted by the lifestyle you live and the foods you eat. Exercising, drinking water, and adding fiber all contribute to better digestive health. Here are five digestive problems that are caused by a poor diet.

1. GERD- GERD is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining. Symptoms include heartburn, hoarseness, and trouble swallowing. Some foods and beverages are known to cause reflux. If you're at risk for GERD, avoid fatty foods, acidic foods, spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeinated beverages. Being overweight and obesity are also causes of GERD. 

2. Cancer- Diet can also directly affect your risk of stomach and bowel cancer. Some foods, such as processed and salt-preserved foods, and red meat can increase the risk of developing stomach and bowel cancer. While others, such as vegetables and fruits, are especially potent cancer fighters. Choosing whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas instead of refined grains, and eating poultry, fish, or beans may also help lower your risk of stomach and bowel cancer.

3. Gallstones- Slimming down (if you're overweight) and changes to your diet may help prevent gallstones. Gallstones are hardened deposits of bile inside the gallbladder. Because cholesterol plays a role in the development of gallstones, you should avoid eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat. Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol and fat and not enough of a high-fiber diet can increase your risk of gallstones.

4. Ulcerative Colitis- Eating a high-fat diet increases the risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a digestive disease that results in inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include fatigue, rectal bleeding, anemia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and feeling an urgent need to take a bowel movement. It's a serious disease that can cause dangerous complications if you don't get the right treatment.

5. Diverticulosis- Diverticulosis is a condition in which protruding pockets develop in the digestive tract. These pouches form when high pressure inside the large intestine pushes against weak spots in the intestinal wall. A high-fiber diet will reduce the risk of developing diverticular disease. Symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloody stools, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Diverticulitis can become serious, requiring hospital admission.

We really are what we eat! Swap those poor eating habits over for better ones. A healthy diet provides important minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to keep the body healthy. You can start making proactive changes to your diet today that can benefit your digestive health now, and throughout your entire life.