If you're getting regular attacks of acid reflux that cause burning pain in your chest, referred to as heartburn, you need to act before it becomes a more serious problem. In Huntington Beach, California, board-certified gastroenterologist Jay P. Diliberto, MD, offers expert diagnosis and treatment of acid reflux at his private practice. Dr. Diliberto can help you alter your eating habits and make other changes to your lifestyle, in addition to prescribing medication to reduce acid levels in your stomach. For the most effective solution to your acid reflux problem, call Jay P. Diliberto, MD Inc. today or book an appointment online.
Acid reflux can cause burning pain in your chest as the acid from your stomach travels up your esophagus.
If you suffer repeated bouts of acid reflux over a long period, it becomes a chronic problem known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This can lead to swallowing problems (dysphagia) or, if severe, may result in voice changes, chronic sore throats, sinus infections, and even pneumonia as the acid may travel all the way up your esophagus into your throat and occasionally down into your lungs.
Reflux occurs when the one-way valve (Lower Esophageal Sphincter or LES) at the very bottom of your esophagus doesn't fully close, allowing stomach acid to flow upward into your esophagus and irritate the lining. The valve essentially becomes a two-way valve. This may be further worsened by having a hiatal hernia.
Due to a protective lining, usually stomach acid doesn't damage the tissues below your LES, but if any escapes through the LES, it can cause inflammation in your esophagus, which may result in a burning pain called heartburn. It’s called heartburn because of its location in the chest, and while it may mimic a heart attack, acid reflux has nothing to do with your heart.
If acid reflux happens only rarely and is not associated with weight loss, swallowing problems, or abdominal pain, it may not be anything to worry about. Perhaps a change in your diet (minimizing caffeine, not eating within a few hours of bed) could be helpful. However, if you're getting frequent bouts of acid reflux, you should contact Dr. Diliberto to find the cause.
In some cases, acid reflux occurs simply as a result of your eating habits and lifestyle choices, such as:
Some prescription medications can also cause or aggravate acid reflux by further weakening the valve or LES. Many Women experience acid reflux when they're pregnant.
Dr. Diliberto initially advises a conservative approach to treating acid reflux in the early stages when none of the warning signs are present (see above).
Antacid medicines of varying strengths may be prescribed and can relieve the acute symptoms of acid reflux. Dietary and lifestyle modifications are always part of the plan.
If your acid reflux is more severe, Dr. Diliberto will perform an upper endoscopy to further assess the damage and tailor a regimen to control symptoms and allow the esophagus to heal. Healing is the foremost goal of treatment.
PPIs or proton pump inhibitors are the best drugs to control symptoms and induce healing. Their safety for long-term use has recently been proven. Repairs either surgically or endoscopically are the last resort as the repairs do not last forever in most cases and are not free of complications.
If acid reflux is regularly affecting you, call Jay P. Diliberto, MD Inc. today or use the online booking form to schedule a consultation.