If heartburn used to be a now-and-then issue but it’s become a regular presence after dinner, you may have acid reflux, and it’s time to get treatment.
At Turnquest Surgical Solutions, our board-certified bariatric and general surgeons, Dexter Turnquest, MD, and Victoria C. Chang, MD, are experts at treating acid reflux and its root causes.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when the stomach acid that helps digest your food moves up to your esophagus and may move into your throat and mouth. A valve at the opening of your stomach doesn’t close all the way, allowing undigested food and acid to travel upward.
Why you need treatment for acid reflux
When untreated, acid reflux can turn into gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
Aside from the unpleasant symptoms, longstanding GERD can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer. You might also inhale the acid into your lungs, causing pneumonia. And acid reflux can destroy tooth enamel.
Symptoms of acid reflux
To help you understand this condition, we put together these eight symptoms of acid reflux. Some are uncommon symptoms that you might not have realized were the result of acid reflux.
Just about everyone has experienced heartburn at one time or another. You know it when you feel that burning sensation rising from inside your chest up to your throat. It’s one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux.
If you get heartburn more than twice a week, it’s time to see a specialist.
Food coming back up in your throat
Is food that’s gone to your stomach frequently coming back up into your throat? You may taste the sour acid from your stomach that digests your food. This is a classic sign of acid reflux.
Does your upper chest develop a strong ache that doesn’t go away for a while? Chest pain is a symptom of acid reflux. A proper diagnosis of acid reflux may save you an unnecessary trip to the emergency room thinking that you’re having a heart attack.
If you have undiagnosed chest pain, always seek medical attention ASAP to make sure you don’t have an undiagnosed heart condition.
Pain that becomes worse when bending over or lying down
If the pain in your upper chest gets worse when you try to lie down or bend over, it is likely acid reflux.
At times, it may be difficult to swallow with acid reflux. It feels like your throat simply closes up and won’t let anything down.
You loved that big meal, but you don’t enjoy the nauseous feeling afterward. That’s a sign of acid reflux.
A chronic cough
You may have seen your primary care physician about your cough. It’s not lung cancer or pneumonia. A chronic cough is one of the less common symptoms of acid reflux.
Along with a cough, becoming hoarse when you speak sometimes is another uncommon symptom of acid reflux.
Treatment for acid reflux
Many cases of acid reflux are a result of lifestyle choices and habits. The common culprits are:
- Being obese or overweight
- Consuming too much alcohol or caffeine
- Eating spicy or fatty foods
A hiatal hernia can also cause acid reflux. Our board-certified surgeons can repair your hernia if that’s the problem. We offer surgical weight loss if losing weight has been a losing battle for you.
Call or request an appointment online with Turnquest Surgical Solutions today if acid reflux is a problem for you. We have two locations in Houston, Texas.