Find out when it’s time to turn to a doctor to handle your heartburn symptoms.
We all deal with heartburn every once in a while. Maybe it was that spicy bowl of chili that did you in or too much champagne on NYE. We’ve all been there; however, if your heartburn is frequent and affecting your life then it’s time to turn to our Clearwater, FL, gastroenterologists Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar Degala to find out what you can do to get your heartburn under control.
Treating Your Heartburn on Your Own
If this is the first time you’re dealing with heartburn then you may not immediately call up your doctor for help. Most people try an over-the-counter antacid to get their heartburn under control. If this works for you, great! However, if you find yourself turning to antacids a couple times of week or if the medication isn’t getting your occasional heartburn under control then it’s time to schedule an appointment with our Clearwater, FL, digestive doctor.
Seeing a Doctor for Heartburn
If you are experiencing heartburn frequently it’s important that you turn to a doctor for a diagnosis, as your symptoms could be indicative of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can damage tissue in the esophagus if left untreated. Warning signs of GERD include:
- Heartburn (a burning in the chest)
- Trouble swallowing
- Feeling like there is a lump in your throat
- Regurgitation of food and stomach acid
In order to diagnose your heartburn we will discuss the symptoms you are having and ask you a series of questions about your symptoms. If we suspect that your heartburn may be the result of GERD then we may recommend that you get an X-ray or an endoscopy, which will allow us to examine the esophagus and the stomach to check for any damage. Sometimes an acid probe test is performed to be able to see when and how severely acid backs up into the esophagus. From there we can make a definitive diagnosis as to whether or not you have GERD.
If you do have GERD you’ll be happy to hear that there are several ways to treat this problem, from simple lifestyle changes to prescription medications. Lifestyle changes include:
- Eating smaller meals more frequently
- Not eating for 2-3 hours before bed
- Not lying down after eating
- Avoiding acidic, spicy, and fried foods, as well as coffee and alcohol
- Elevating your head while sleeping
- Quitting or avoiding smoking
Antacids can be taken either before mealtimes or as you start to notice symptoms. Common antacids include:
- Histamine H2 antagonists
- H2 blocks
- Proton pump inhibitors
These medications work either by reducing excess stomach acid or by preventing the production of stomach acid to heal damaged tissue and reduce heartburn symptoms.
Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL, provides comprehensive gastrointestinal treatments to patients of all ages. Has heartburn left you dreading food? If you said “yes’ then it’s time to turn to us for answers.