Indigestion is a common experience every once in a while. However, frequent heartburn can indicate a more chronic case of indigestion, known as acid reflux. This is a condition that happens when the stomach’s acid flows back up into the food pipe. As a result, the esophagus can be affected as well as the throat and the voice box.
What you should do
If you have had heartburn more than twice a week, you should see an acid reflux specialist determine your condition’s extent. However, you should seek immediate medical care if you experience chest pain or shortness of breath. New York Facial Plastic Surgeon Matthew W. Shawl, MD, can help you determine if your acid reflux has affected your larynx or pharynx. Besides, Dr. Shawl can provide the most effective treatment option based on the magnitude of the condition.
What could be the cause?
Hiatal hernia is a stomach abnormality that is the primary cause of acid reflux. It is a condition where the upper part of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter move above the diaphragm, keeping the acid in your stomach.
Besides Hiatal hernia, several risk factors are associated with the disease. They include:
- Being overweight or obese.
- Eating large meals.
- Lying down right after a meal.
- Snacking close to bedtime.
Common Symptoms to Lookout For
If you experience the following symptoms more than twice a week, reach out to Dr. Shawl for help.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bitter taste in the back of your mouth
- Feeling as though you have something stuck in your throat.
- Post-nasal drip
- Frequent coughing
- Frequent need to clear your throat
- Hoarseness in your throat
You can also experience difficulty in breathing if your larynx gets affected.
You take quick actions if you experience such symptoms. Without proper care, acid reflux can result in permanent complications in your throat and esophagus and increase your chances for laryngeal or esophageal cancer.
What to Expect During the Acid Reflux Evaluation
When you choose Dr. Shawl’s expert care, you can expect compassionate and comprehensive care in return during evaluation. This is because your health and needs are kept above all else.
The evaluation involves evaluating your symptoms, medical history, and a physical examination of your throat. Diagnostic testing may be required to confirm or rule out acid reflux, including upper endoscopy, pH probe, or swallowing study.
Treatments for Acid Reflux
A personalized, comprehensive treatment plan can be designed to help you manage the condition from your diagnosis results. The plan can include lifestyle changes, over-the-counter antacids, and prescription medications. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to tighten the esophagus muscles to prevent acid reflux.
Some of the lifestyle changes that can be recommended include;
- Omitting caffeine and alcohol from your diet
- Not eating three hours before bedtime
- Losing weight
- Eating less but more frequent.
- Limiting fatty and spicy foods intake
- Wearing loose clothing
- Avoiding increased pressure on your abdomen
Heartburn is expected, but if you experience any suspicious signs, the best thing to do is to seek expert care to evaluate your condition. However, this is something you can manage through lifestyle changes and some over-the-counter medications.