About a third of Americans struggle with a gastroenterological disorder called heartburn at least once each month according to Harvard Health Publications. It’s a form of indigestion that occurs after eating or drinking. It could be a minor annoyance for some patients, but it could also be a recurring symptom, and it could be related to another health condition or disorder. Find out what you and Dr. Vikram Jayanty, a Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, can do about your heartburn symptoms.
What Is Heartburn and What Causes It?
Heartburn is discomfort that is felt in the chest due to acid reflux. It’s caused by eating certain foods—spicy and salty foods in particular. These foods disrupt the digestive acids, causing them to regurgitate back to the chest and esophagus. Though it feels like the heart is “burning,” it’s not. When you experience multiple episodes in a short period of time, it is called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Patients who are obese and don’t exercise often may be more prone to heartburn or GERD.
Some cases of heartburn can be treated by simply taking antacid medication that helps neutralize stomach acid. But sometimes additional treatments are necessary and tests must be done to understand the true source of the issue. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPI medication) or H2 (histamine-2) blockers may be prescribed to limit acid production. Some drugs can help you digest your food more quickly. In cases where the esophagus is damaged from reflux, your Houston gastroenterologist may suggest a laparoscopic procedure.
What You Can Do
Heartburn is often caused or exacerbated by lifestyle choices. There are steps you can take to reduce or prevent symptoms, which include:
– Limit your consumption of spicy or acidic foods.
– Eat light meals throughout the day instead of heavy meals less frequently.
– Don’t eat right before you go to sleep.
– Consume less alcohol, coffee, and carbonated drinks.
– Consult with your doctor about dietary changes to lose weight.
– Avoid tobacco products.
Help for Heartburn
Dr. Jayanty can help you manage and reduce the symptoms of heartburn or GERD. Call (713) 932-9200 today to schedule a visit to discuss your case at his office in Houston, TX.