Acid Reflux in Utah
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What exactly is acid reflux?
Whenever you swallow food or liquid, the item you're consuming passes down through your esophagus before reaching the stomach. Separating those two organs is a muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which expands and contracts in order to allow food to pass through.
We all have stomach acid to help digest the food we consume. Unfortunately, if our lower esophageal sphincter fails to close completely, it may allow a portion of the acid to flow backward and into the esophagus, sometimes causing harm and/or leading to chronic acid reflux. That is what we experience as "heartburn" from acid reflux — because the acid creates a burning sensation. At Utah Gastroenterology, our board-certified gastrointestinal physicians commonly treat acid reflux and can help reduce heartburn and other symptoms. If you need acid reflux treatment in Utah, please contact our practice today.
What are the causes acid reflux or heartburn?
As common a condition as acid reflux is, there is no single root cause for it that physicians are aware of. There are many components that might contribute to a loss of strength in the lower esophageal sphincter and could then allow stomach acid to move in reverse into the digestive tract. Acid reflux may be caused by a variety of foods, medications, pre-existing conditions, or certain activities after consumption of food. A multitude of circumstances might affect an individual's acid reflux in extraordinarily different ways. Examples of typical factors contributing to acid reflux might include:
- Certain medications (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, and those for blood pressure)
- Carbonated beverages
- Being overweight or obese
- Having a weak or sub-optimal LES
- Spicy or fatty foods
- Hiatal hernia
- Eating a heavy meal then lying down
- Tomatoes, chocolate, citrus fruits, raw onions, garlic, black pepper, and peppermint
- Low-fiber diet
- Alcohol (particularly red wine)
What are common acid reflux symptoms?
Acid reflux is sometimes referred to as heartburn, though the terms are not the same. Usual acid reflux symptoms may include:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Pain in the chest
- Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
- The sensation of a lump in the throat
In the case that you are dealing with any of these symptoms on a regular basis, then you might suffer from a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If this is the situation, we urge you to contact a Utah Gastroenterology specialist as soon as possible.
How do I relieve acid reflux?
If you need help treating or managing acid reflux in Utah, we advise scheduling a consultation with a board-certified gastrointestinal doctor. However, there are also some changes in lifestyle that you can implement that may help lessen the frequency and severity of symptoms. These may include (but are not limited to):
- Not eating for at least two hours before going to bed
- Quitting smoking
- Disclosing to your GI specialist about current medications you are taking
- Avoidance of "trigger" foods and beverages
- Eating slowly and in moderation
- Losing any excess weight (if overweight)
- Sleeping at an incline with your head raised above your feet
- Limiting your caffeine intake
- Being sure to stand or sit upright after eating
What are the differences between GERD and acid reflux?
You most likely have experienced the uncomfortable burning sensation caused by acid reflux at least once in your life. However, GERD is the more serious and chronic variety of acid reflux. GERD is most often diagnosed when a person suffers from acid reflux more than twice per week and has swelling in the esophagus. Should you have indications of acid reflux more than twice a week, we urge you to partner with a GI specialist at your earliest opportunity.
You can find treatment for acid reflux
If recurring acid reflux is making your life more difficult, then reach out to the experienced GI health providers at Utah Gastroenterology to discuss possible solutions. Our digestive health specialists strive to inform and care for people with GI conditions, like acid reflux and GERD. If you believe you may suffer from GERD or need treatment for acid reflux in Utah, contact our team to schedule an appointment.
Acid Reflux FAQs
When should I see a doctor for acid reflux?
You should reach out to a gastroenterologist if you endure acid reflux symptoms a minimum of two times weekly, as this might indicate gastrointestinal reflux disease. GERD is a chronic variation of acid reflux that could end up damaging the upper portion of your digestive tract if not treated. The team at Utah Gastroenterology can review your acid reflux symptoms and determine a diagnosis. In addition, we can help you identify any triggers of acid reflux to minimize its effects.
How long can it take acid reflux to improve once I start treatment?
Treatment for acid reflux generally comprises a blend of medicine and changes in diet. After you determine the correct treatment, it may take up to three weeks before you begin to feel better and notice results.
Are there any foods and beverages I should avoid when I have acid reflux?
Yes, certain drinks and food can result in or intensify symptoms of acid reflux. Some items you may want to think about avoiding if you have acid reflux are:
- Caffeinated or carbonated drinks (such as coffee, tea, soda, and seltzer)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spicy foods
- Greasy foods
- High-fat foods
Are there ways to ease acid reflux symptoms in addition to medication?
Prescription or over-the-counter medicine may help manage your acid reflux. But there are other options you can also try to experience relief. Some of these include:
- Consume several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three larger meals. This can help you avoid becoming overly full, which might lead to further reflux.
- Avoid going to bed as soon as you finish dinner. Refraining from eating three hours before bedtime may be helpful so the acid can remain in the stomach instead of regurgitating back up.
- If you are a person who is overweight, it might be wise to consider a weight loss plan. Your provider can develop a diet and exercise regimen based on your needs.
- Quit using cigarettes or other tobacco products.
Acid Reflux Videos
Friendly and very professional thank you ☺️
Allison Sabin was extremely professional and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend her if you suffer from acid reflux.
IVery sweet and made me feel completely comfortable let me know what was she going to do at all times pain free the whole staff was great and I wouldn't go any place else I would reffer any of my friends to Dr Volklander
The procedure went perfectly. Staff was professional and comforting. Easy process.
Very simplistic approach to isolating a health issue. The med he prescribed has been on point. Very approachable and down to earth