Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: Heartburn

By Digestive Medicine Associates
June 05, 2020
Category: GI Care
Tags: Heartburn  
HeartburnWhen 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:
  • Chocolate
  • Greasy and fatty foods
  • Mint
  • Spicy foods
  • Onions
  • Garlic
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. 
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
December 06, 2018
Category: GI Care
Tags: Heartburn  

Got heartburn? Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is a form of indigestion felt as a burning pain in the chest. It's caused when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus. More than just a minor discomfort, acid indigestion can reduce quality of life. The following tips will help you rid yourself of heartburn.

1. Change your diet. Stay away from beverages and foods that commonly cause heartburn. A good way to work out what beverages and foods trigger your heartburn symptoms is to keep track of what you eat. Common offenders include tea, coffee, tomatoes, garlic, fatty foods, spicy foods, milk, chocolate and peppermint. 

2. Don't overeat. Overeating can trigger heartburn. Big meals put pressure on the muscle that helps keep stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. The more food you eat, the longer it takes for your stomach to empty, which contributes to acid reflux. Try eating five small meals a day to keep reflux at bay.

3. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can trigger heartburn. Alcohol can relax the sphincter muscle at the lower end of your esophagus, causing stomach acid to flow up into your esophagus If your aim is to unwind after a long day at work, try exercise, stretching, listening to soothing music, or deep breathing instead of drinking alcohol.

4. Lose weight. If you overeat, lose weight- but be sure to consult your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise program. The increased risk of heartburn is thought to be due to excess abdominal fat causing pressure on the stomach.

5. Stop smoking. Nicotine is a muscle relaxant. Nicotine can relax the sphincter muscle, causes acid from the stomach to leak upward into the esophagus. Nicotine gums, patches, and lozenges are healthier and safer than cigarettes, and they are less likely to give you heartburn. 

6. Contact your doctor. Your doctor may suggest antacids for occasional heartburn. Sometimes, more powerful prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers and are needed to treat chronic heartburn. When all else fails, surgery may be required to repair the LES.

Chronic heartburn can affect your daily activities and make life frustrating and miserable. Don't hesitate to contact a gastroenterologist about heartburn.