Acid Reflux in Connecticut
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What exactly is acid reflux?
Anytime we ingest food or liquids, they pass through our esophagus and into the stomach. In between the esophagus and stomach, there is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This closes and opens, permitting the passage of food into the stomach.
We all have stomach acid to help digest the food we eat. Unfortunately, if the lower esophageal sphincter does not close completely, it can allow some of the acid to move backward and up into the esophagus, possibly doing damage and/or causing chronic acid reflux. That is when we experience “heartburn” from acid reflux because the acid creates a burning sensation. At Connecticut GI, our board-certified GI specialists routinely help manage acid reflux and are able to help minimize heartburn and other symptoms. If you are seeking acid reflux treatment in Connecticut, please get in touch with one of our locations today.
What are the causes of acid reflux or heartburn?
While acid reflux is extremely common, there is not one primary cause of reflux. Several factors may contribute to a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, which then allows acid from our stomach to move back up the digestive tract. Acid reflux could be triggered by a variety of medications, foods, pre-existing conditions, or some activities after the consumption of food. Differing circumstances may cause acid reflux to present in different ways. Examples of common factors contributing to acid reflux might include:
- Specific medications (such as ibuprofen, aspirin, muscle relaxers, and those for blood pressure)
- Eating a heavy meal and then lying down
- A weak or sub-optimal LES
- A diet low in fiber
- Hiatal hernia
- Fatty or spicy foods
- Citrus fruits, chocolate, tomatoes, garlic, peppermint, raw onions, and black pepper
- Being overweight or obese
- Carbonated drinks
- Alcohol (particularly red wine)
What are the common symptoms of acid reflux?
Acid reflux is often referred to as heartburn. Common acid reflux symptoms can include:
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
- Pain in the chest
- Unexplained weight loss
- The sensation of a lump in the throat
If you are experiencing these symptoms on a regular basis, then it is possible that you may suffer from a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If this is the situation, we urge you to contact a Connecticut GI specialist at your earliest convenience.
How do I relieve acid reflux?
The best and most effective method for relieving acid reflux is to consult with a board-certified gastrointestinal provider in Connecticut. However, there are also some lifestyle changes that can be implemented that could help lessen the frequency and severity of symptoms. These may include (but are not limited to):
- Eating in moderation and at a slow speed
- Avoiding "trigger" foods and beverages
- Disclosing to your gastroenterologist any medication you are currently taking
- Quitting smoking
- Sleeping at an incline with your feet lower than your head
- Refraining from eating for, at minimum, two hours prior to bedtime
- (If overweight), losing extra weight
- Being sure to stand or sit upright after eating
- Limiting your caffeine intake
What are the differences between acid reflux and GERD?
The majority of adults have experienced the burning feeling of acid reflux some time during their lives. However, GERD is the more severe and chronic form of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is typically diagnosed when one suffers from acid reflux more frequently than twice per week as well as inflammation in the esophagus. Should you struggle with the symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, we urge you to visit a gastroenterologist at your earliest opportunity.
Compassionate care for acid reflux
Should consistent acid reflux or other bothersome GI effects develop, it is important to receive help from a digestive health specialist. The experienced providers at Connecticut GI aim to educate and care for people with gastrointestinal conditions, such as acid reflux and GERD. If you believe you may suffer from GERD or need treatment for acid reflux in Connecticut, reach out to one of our locations today to request a consultation.
Acid Reflux FAQs
When should I see a doctor for acid reflux?
You may need to schedule an appointment with a GI specialist if you experience acid reflux more than two times weekly, as this could suggest you are encountering GERD. Gastrointestinal reflux disease is a more severe form of acid reflux that could damage your upper GI tract if left untreated. The team of gastroenterologists at Connecticut GI can assess your current symptoms and determine a diagnosis. Our team will also help you identify triggers to avoid to minimize your symptoms.
How long can acid reflux take to improve after starting treatment?
Acid reflux treatment typically involves a mix of dietary changes and medication. Once you find a treatment that works, it may take 1 – 3 weeks until you begin to recover and experience improvement.
Should I avoid any particular foods and beverages if I have acid reflux?
Some beverages and foods can cause or heighten acid reflux symptoms. Items you may wish to avoid if you have acid reflux include:
- Caffeinated or carbonated drinks (such as seltzer, soda, tea, and tea)
- High-fat foods
- Spicy foods
- Greasy foods
What are some ways to help relieve acid reflux outside of medication?
While a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications can relieve acid reflux symptoms, there are other options you might try in addition to any recommended treatment. A few of these include:
- If you are overweight or obese, consider losing weight. A physician can put together a weight loss plan based on your needs.
- Avoid smoking or using other tobacco products.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of the standard three larger meals. This can help you avoid becoming overly full, which can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.
- Avoid going to sleep directly after eating. It's a good idea to finish eating three hours before going to bed so the acid can remain in your stomach rather than regurgitate.
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