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Gastro Health
Should You See a Doctor For Acid Reflux?
Gastro Health
. https://gastrohealth.com

Should You See a Doctor For Acid Reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux is a physical condition in which acid from the stomach, flows backward up into the esophagus. Over a long period of time, exposure to stomach acid erodes the lining of the lower esophagus causing patients to have trouble swallowing. Patients may also experience a sour taste of acid in the back of their throat or heartburn. Many describe heartburn as a feeling of burning discomfort, localized behind the breastbone that lasts for several hours or often worsen after eating food. Frequent heartburn (two or more times a week) may be associated with a more severe problem known as gastroesophageal regurgitation disease or GERD.

Left untreated, chronic acid reflux or GERD may increase patients risks of developing serious health complications including chest pain (mimicking a heart attack), esophageal stricture (a narrowing of the esophagus), bleeding, pre-malignant changes in the esophageal lining, or Barrett’s esophagus which can lead to esophageal cancer. When symptoms of heartburn are not controlled with diet or lifestyle modifications, it is important to talk to your doctor about acid reflux testing and treatment options.

Common diagnostic testing for chronic acid reflux or GERD may include:

Upper Endoscopy. Your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat, to see the inside of the esophagus and stomach to detect inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis). Endoscopy can also be used to collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) to be tested for complications such as Barrett’s esophagus.

Esophageal pH Monitoring. A monitor is placed in your esophagus to identify when, and for how long, stomach acid regurgitates there. The monitor might be a thin, flexible tube (catheter) that’s threaded through your nose into your esophagus, or a clip that’s placed in your esophagus during an endoscopy and that gets passed into your stool after about two days.

Esophageal Manometry. This test measures the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow. In some patients, acid reflux causes chronic laryngitis or reflux-related laryngitis. This group of patients commonly complain of throat issues, such as chronic cough, throat clearing, hoarseness, or sore throat. It’s called Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

More than 60 million Americans experience symptoms of heartburn at least once a month indicating about 15 million American have heartburn every day. Symptoms of heartburn can be an indication of acid reflux or GERD. Talk to your doctor to determine any testing or treatment options right for you.

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