Occasional heartburn is no cause for concern. However, if you have heartburn more than twice a week, you may have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The experienced team at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland in New City, New York, helps you manage acid reflux through medication and diet. Managing GERD can improve your symptoms and prevent long-term complications, such as Barrett’s esophagus. To get treatment for acid reflux, schedule an appointment online or over the phone.
Acid reflux develops when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus. The stomach acid irritates your esophagus, which causes a burning sensation known as heartburn.
Despite the name, heartburn doesn’t have anything to do with your heart, but you do feel the sensation in your chest.
Don’t worry if you get heartburn every once in a while. It’s a common symptom if you indulge in the occasional rich, heavy meal. Heartburn is only a concern if it’s a regular occurrence.
Heartburn that occurs at least two times a week may indicate that you have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In addition to heartburn, acid reflux disease may cause:
Schedule an appointment at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland if you regularly experience any of these symptoms.
Mild acid reflux usually improves with changes to your lifestyle and habits. Your doctor may recommend:
In addition to these lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter antacids when you experience heartburn. That may be enough to keep your symptoms under control.
If you have serious GERD, antacids and lifestyle changes may not be enough to improve your condition.
Your doctor may also prescribe medication to decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces. You may also need medication to help heal inflamed tissue in your esophagus.
Barrett’s esophagus is a complication of long-term acid reflux. Over time, in response to irritation from stomach acid, the lining of your esophagus may change into tissue that’s similar to the lining of your small intestine.
Although Barrett’s esophagus doesn’t cause any symptoms, it indicates a risk of esophageal cancer.
If you’ve had acid reflux for a long time, your doctor may test you for Barrett’s esophagus. You can usually prevent Barrett’s esophagus from progressing by keeping your acid reflux under control. In some cases, your doctor recommends a procedure to remove the abnormal tissue.
To get help managing acid reflux disease, schedule an appointment at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland online or over the phone.