It’s not unusual to experience heartburn from time to time. However, if your heartburn, also referred to as acid reflux, shows up often, it could damage the delicate tissue that lines your esophagus. The experienced gastroenterology team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Elk Grove and Arlington Heights, Illinois, specializes in diagnosing and treating acid reflux and can provide the care you need to reduce symptoms and prevent tissue damage. Call the office or request an appointment online today.
Acid reflux refers to the regurgitation of the acidic contents of your stomach into your esophagus. Reflux happens when the sphincter muscle between your stomach and esophagus doesn’t close tightly enough, providing an opening for the acidic juices in your stomach to flow or splash upward.
A structural abnormality in your stomach could be the reason you’re experiencing acid reflux. You could also be more prone to acid reflux if you:
Obesity and pregnancy also increase your risk of developing acid reflux.
The burning sensation in the chest, referred to as heartburn, is the most well-known symptom of acid reflux. Other symptoms of acid reflux include:
If your acid reflux is chronic and goes untreated, the acidic contents of your stomach could damage your esophageal tissue leading to esophagitis, which can increase your risk of esophageal cancer. Chronic acid reflux is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The experienced team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group recommends you schedule a consultation if you experience acid reflux two or more times a week for an extended period of time.
Frequent, prolonged acid reflux could indicate you have GERD, which can increase your risk of more serious health issues if not properly treated.
Treatment of acid reflux depends on the frequency and severity of your symptoms. If your acid reflux shows up occasionally, the team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group recommends that you take over-the-counter medication to minimize symptoms.
For chronic acid reflux, the team will usually recommend medications like antacids or H2 blockers to help reduce the acidity in your stomach. Prokinetics, which speeds up movement through your digestive tract, could also be recommended.
Whether acute or chronic, the team also recommends lifestyle changes like avoiding foods that worsen your symptoms, not eating too close to bedtime, and losing weight (if needed)to control symptoms.
If conservative methods fail to control your acid reflux, surgery could then be recommended.
For expert care of your acid reflux by an experienced team, contact Illinois Gastroenterology Group by phone or online today to schedule an appointment.