Acid Reflux in Kansas City, MO
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What is acid reflux?
Any time a person swallows liquids or food, it passes through the esophagus into the stomach. In between our esophagus and stomach is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle closes and opens, allowing food to pass through into the stomach.
We all have stomach acid to assist in the digestion of the food we consume. Unfortunately, if our lower esophageal sphincter does not close all the way, it can allow a portion of that acid to move backward and up into the esophagus, possibly causing damage and/or progressing to long-term acid reflux. This is when we experience “heartburn” from acid reflux because the acid creates a burning sensation. At Digestive Health Specialists, our board-certified gastrointestinal physicians commonly treat acid reflux and are able to help relieve heartburn and related symptoms. If you need acid reflux treatment in Kansas City, MO, please contact our office today.
What causes acid reflux or heartburn?
Though acid reflux is quite common, there is no single, specific, root cause of reflux. There are a number of components that could be a part of a loss of strength in the lower esophageal sphincter and could then allow acid from our stomach, to flow in reverse into the digestive tract. Acid reflux may be triggered by some foods, medications, pre-existing conditions, or some activities following eating. Varying circumstances might have an impact on a person's acid reflux in extraordinarily differing ways. Some common factors contributing to acid reflux could include:
- Consumption of alcohol (red wine in particular)
- A weak or sub-optimal LES
- Low-fiber diet
- Carbonated drinks
- Eating a heavy meal then lying down
- Hiatal hernia
- Being overweight or obese
- Chocolate, citrus fruits, peppermint, tomatoes, black pepper, garlic, and raw onions
- Certain medications (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, those for blood pressure, and muscle relaxers)
- Spicy or fatty foods
What are common acid reflux symptoms?
Commonly, acid reflux is referred to as heartburn. Common symptoms of acid reflux can include:
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the chest
- The sensation of a lump in the throat
If you are dealing with any of these symptoms persistently, then you may suffer from a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If that is the case, we urge you to reach out to a Digestive Health Specialists provider today.
How do I relieve acid reflux?
The optimal and most successful way to relieve acid reflux is to reach out to a board-certified GI specialist in Kansas City, MO. However, there are 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:
- Sleeping at an incline with your head raised above your feet
- Being sure to stand or sit upright after eating
- Limiting your caffeine intake
- Losing weight (if overweight)
- Stopping smoking
- Eating slowly and in moderation
- Refraining from eating for, at minimum, 120 minutes before laying down to sleep
- Avoiding "trigger" beverages and foods
- Disclosing to your GI specialist about the current medications you are taking
What is the difference between acid reflux and GERD?
The majority of adults have experienced the burning feeling of acid reflux at some point in their lives. However, GERD is the more dangerous and recurring variety of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is commonly diagnosed when you experience acid reflux more than twice per week as well as inflammation in the esophagus. If you struggle with the symptoms of acid reflux three times a week or more, please visit a gastroenterologist at your earliest opportunity.
You can find treatment for acid reflux
If frequent acid reflux or other uncomfortable GI effects develop, we urge you to partner with a gastrointestinal doctor. The skilled physicians at Digestive Health Specialists strive to educate and treat people with digestive health problems, such as acid reflux and GERD. If you believe you may suffer from GERD or need treatment for acid reflux in Kansas City, MO, reach out to our team today to arrange for a visit.
Acid Reflux FAQs
When should I see a GI provider for acid reflux?
It is time to visit a gastroenterologist if you have acid reflux symptoms a minimum of twice weekly, as this might mean you are struggling with gastrointestinal reflux disease. Gastrointestinal reflux disease is an extreme kind of acid reflux that can damage your upper gastrointestinal tract if left untreated. The GI specialists at Digestive Health Specialists can review your current symptoms and make a diagnosis. Our team can help you distinguish any triggers to minimize symptoms.
How long does it take acid reflux to resolve after starting treatments?
Acid reflux treatment generally includes a combination of medication and changes in your diet. After you discover the correct treatment regimen that works for you, it might take three weeks or less before you begin to recover and notice results.
Should I avoid certain foods and drinks if I have acid reflux?
Certain drinks and food can result in or magnify your symptoms. Some common foods you may want to think about avoiding if you suffer from acid reflux are:
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Carbonated and caffeinated drinks (such as coffee, tea, soda, and seltzer)
- Greasy foods
What are some ways to relieve acid reflux without relying on medication?
Even though it’s true there are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications that may relieve symptoms of acid reflux, there also are several other options you can try other than medication. Just a few of them are:
- Eat more meals in smaller quantities each day rather than the standard three larger meals. This can help keep you from getting too full, which can cause even more symptoms
- Try not to go to bed just after supper. Our GI specialists suggest that you discontinue eating about three hours before going to sleep so the acid will remain inside your stomach in contrast to regurgitating back up
- If you are overweight, you may want to think about losing weight. Your GI provider should be able to create a weight loss plan personalized to you goals
- Stop smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products
I had a great and the most professional and relaxed experience with Dr. Kelsey Able and all of her staff!
Excellent Dr.Gets right to the point and explains procedure..
Very professional. Listened and then made suggestions for my issues. Felt very comfortable talking with him.
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Answered everything I asked and had issues.