Acid Reflux in Houston, TX

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When we ingest food or drinks, they pass from the esophagus and into the stomach. In between the esophagus and stomach is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle that opens to allow food into the stomach and closes afterward.

Each of us has acid in our stomachs to assist in the digestion of the food we consume. Unfortunately, if our lower esophageal sphincter fails to close completely, it may allow some of the acid to flow backward and up into the esophagus, sometimes causing damage and/or causing chronic acid reflux. That is when we experience "heartburn" from acid reflux because the acid causes a burning sensation. At Gastroenterology Consultants, our board-certified GI specialists routinely treat acid reflux and are able to help minimize heartburn and other symptoms. If you are seeking acid reflux treatment in Houston, TX, please reach out to us today.

As commonplace as acid reflux is, there is no individual, specific cause for the condition. There are many different components that may contribute to a loss of strength in the LES, allowing stomach acid to flow in reverse into the esophagus. Acid reflux can be instigated by some foods, medications, pre-existing conditions, or some activities following eating. Differing factors can affect an individual's reflux in different ways. Some frequent causes of acid reflux could include:

  • Being a smoker
  • Certain medications (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, and those for blood pressure)
  • Sparkling beverages
  • Spicy or fatty foods
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Being obese or overweight
  • A diet low in fiber
  • Consuming caffeine
  • Eating a heavy meal then lying down
  • Pregnancy
  • Citrus fruits, chocolate, tomatoes, garlic, peppermint, raw onions, and black pepper
  • Consumption of alcohol (particularly red wine)
  • Having a weak or sub-optimal LES

Acid reflux is commonly referred to as heartburn, one of its principal symptoms. Other common symptoms of acid reflux might include:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
  • Chest pain
  • The feeling of a lump in the throat
  • Dysphagia
  • Gas

If you are dealing with any of these symptoms on a regular basis, then you may suffer from a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If this is the situation, please reach out to a Gastroenterology Consultantsgastroenterologist today.

If you regularly experience acid reflux, the optimal and most effective way to relieve your symptoms is to consult with a board-certified GI specialist in Houston, TX. However, there are also some lifestyle changes that you can implement that may help lessen the severity and frequency of symptoms. These might include (but are not limited) to:

  • Refraining from eating for, at minimum, 120 minutes before laying down to sleep
  • Sleeping at an incline with your head raised above your feet
  • (If overweight), losing extra weight
  • Eating slowly and in moderation
  • Disclosing to your GI specialist about medication you are currently taking
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding "trigger" beverages and foods
  • Limiting your intake of caffeine
  • Consistently standing or sitting upright after eating
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It's extremely common to experience the burning sensations caused by acid reflux at some point in your life. However, gastroesophageal reflux disease is the more serious and recurring form of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is commonly diagnosed when you experience acid reflux more frequently than two times per week along with swelling in the esophagus. If you suffer from indications of acid reflux more than twice a week, we urge you to talk with a gastrointestinal specialist immediately.

When your acid reflux symptoms become a regular issue or other concerning gastrointestinal effects start to develop, please connect with a GI physician. The distinguished specialists at Gastroenterology Consultants work to educate and care for individuals with gastrointestinal conditions, such as acid reflux and GERD. If you suspect GERD or need help for acid reflux in Houston, TX, reach out to our facility today to schedule a consultation.

When do you need to see a doctor for acid reflux?

It is important to get in touch with a gastroenterologist if you endure acid reflux a minimum of two times a week, as you could be experiencing gastrointestinal reflux disease. GERD is a severe form of acid reflux that can damage the upper part of the GI tract if left untreated. The team at Gastroenterology Consultants can review your symptoms and determine a diagnosis. We can also help you pinpoint acid reflux triggers to decrease your symptoms.

How long does it take acid reflux to improve after treatment?

Acid reflux treatment typically incorporates a combination of medication therapy and changes in diet. After you begin treatment for acid reflux, it may take a few weeks to experience relief.

Are there any foods and beverages you should avoid with acid reflux?

Some foods and drinks can contribute to or heighten acid reflux symptoms. Items you might consider avoiding if you suffer from acid reflux are:

  • Carbonated and caffeinated drinks (such as seltzer, soda, tea, and coffee)
  • Alcohol
  • Greasy foods
  • Foods high in fat
  • Peppermint
  • Spicy foods
Are there ways to relieve acid reflux outside of medication?

While over-the-counter and prescription medications can help relieve acid reflux, other factors might also help reduce your symptoms. Some of these involve:

  • If you are a person who is overweight, it might be wise to consider a weight loss plan. Your provider can create a plan that addresses your unique needs.
  • Try not to go to bed immediately after dinner. It can be beneficial to finish eating about three hours prior to going to sleep so the acid can remain in the stomach instead of regurgitating.
  • Eat more meals in smaller quantities each day instead of three large meals. This can help you from becoming too full, which could increase the effects of reflux.
  • Stop smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products.

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