Acid Reflux in Indianapolis, IN
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What is acid reflux?
Whenever we eat or drink, the food or liquid passes through our esophagus and into the stomach. At the point where the esophagus and stomach meet is a muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle contracts and relaxes, permitting the passage of food into the stomach.
Each of us has stomach acid to assist in the digestion of the food we consume. Unfortunately, if our lower esophageal sphincter fails to close completely, it can allow a portion of that acid to flow in reverse and into the esophagus, sometimes doing damage and/or leading to long-term acid reflux. That is when we experience "heartburn” from acid reflux due to the fact that the acid creates a burning sensation. At Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology, our board-certified gastroenterologists routinely treat acid reflux and are able to help reduce heartburn and related symptoms. If you need acid reflux treatment in Indianapolis, IN, reach out to us today.
What causes acid reflux or heartburn?
While acid reflux is very commonplace, there is no single, specific root of the condition. There are many components that could contribute to a loss of strength in the lower esophageal sphincter, permitting stomach acid to move back up the digestive tract. Acid reflux could be caused by a variety of foods, medications, pre-existing conditions, or even activities following consumption of food. Varying factors can have an effect on a patient's reflux in differing ways. Examples of frequent factors contributing to acid reflux could include:
- Consuming caffeine
- Carbonated beverages
- Consumption of alcohol (particularly red wine)
- Fatty or spicy foods
- Lying down quickly after eating
- Low-fiber diet
- Being or becoming pregnant
- Specific medications (such as ibuprofen, aspirin, those for blood pressure, and muscle relaxers)
- Being obese or overweight
- Tomatoes, chocolate, citrus fruits, raw onions, garlic, black pepper, and peppermint
- Hiatal hernia
- A weak or sub-optimal LES
What are common symptoms of acid reflux?
Acid reflux is commonly called heartburn. Typical symptoms of acid reflux can include:
- Pain in the chest
- Unexplained weight loss
- The feeling of a lump in the throat
- Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
In the case that you are dealing with any of these symptoms persistently, then it is possible that you might suffer from a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If that is the situation, please reach out to an Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology physician at your earliest convenience.
How do I relieve acid reflux?
The optimal method for relieving acid reflux is to partner with a board-certified gastroenterologist in Indianapolis, IN. However, there are also some lifestyle changes that you can implement that may help lessen the severity and frequency of symptoms. These might include (but are not limited) to:
- Avoiding "trigger" beverages and foods
- Sleeping at an incline with your head raised above your feet
- Consistently standing or sitting upright after eating
- Disclosing to your GI specialist about medication you are currently taking
- Losing weight (if overweight)
- Limiting your caffeine intake
- Quitting smoking
- Not eating for at least two hours before laying down to sleep
- Eating in moderation and at a slow speed
What are the differences between acid reflux and GERD?
The majority of people have felt the burning sensation of acid reflux at some time in their lives. However, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the more dangerous and recurring variety of acid reflux. GERD is typically diagnosed when you experience acid reflux more frequently than two times per week and have irritation and inflammation in the esophagus. If you are having the symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, we urge you to visit a gastrointestinal doctor today.
You can find treatment for acid reflux
If you regularly suffer from heartburn along with other uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms, we advise you to connect with a GI doctor to find relief. The skilled providers at Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology aim to educate and care for people with digestive health concerns, such as acid reflux and GERD. If you believe you may suffer from GERD or need treatment for acid reflux in Indianapolis, IN, connect with our facility to schedule an appointment.
Acid Reflux FAQs
When should I see a doctor for acid reflux?
You should contact a GI specialist if you have acid reflux a minimum of twice weekly, as this may indicate the presence of gastrointestinal reflux disease. GERD is a more severe form of acid reflux that can damage your upper GI tract without proper care. The Indianapolis Gastroenterology and Hepatology team can review your acid reflux symptoms and determine a diagnosis. We can also help you identify triggers to reduce your symptoms.
How long might acid reflux take to improve after treatment begins?
Treatment for acid reflux usually encompasses a combination of dietary changes and medication. Once you get on the right treatment program, it may take between 1 – 3 weeks for your body to recover and your symptoms to improve.
What foods and beverages should I avoid if I have acid reflux?
Some foods and beverages can produce or increase acid reflux symptoms. Common items you may want to avoid if you suffer from acid reflux include:
- Spicy foods
- Greasy foods
- High-fat foods
- Carbonated and caffeinated drinks (such as seltzer, soda, tea, and tea)
What are some ways to relieve acid reflux outside of medication?
Even though there are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines that may reduce your acid reflux, there are also other options you can try that do not involve medication. Some are:
- Stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
- Eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than three larger meals. This often helps you from becoming too full, which could increase the chance of reflux.
- If you are overweight, it might be wise to consider losing weight. Your physician can create a weight loss program based on your needs.
- Try not to go to bed as soon as you finish eating. Finish eating about three hours prior to bedtime to help the acid remain in your stomach rather than regurgitate back up.
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