If you have ever experienced heartburn, you may know that it can be a frustrating and annoying condition that can cause you to question the foods you eat. However, this condition is often mild and not a cause for concern. Knowing when heartburn becomes a problem, what causes it, and when you should see your doctor can help you understand this condition and its treatments. Find out more about heartburn with Dr. Umesh Choudhry and Dr. Gourisankar (Shankar) Degala at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a condition affecting the esophagus, which is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach, which has a special lining to protect it from the substance, refluxes up into the esophagus, which does not have a protective lining. This can cause a burning sensation, difficulty swallowing, coughing, regurgitation of liquids or food into the throat, hoarseness, or a long-term sore throat.
What causes heartburn?
Heartburn can come from various root causes. Often, heartburn has to do with what goes into the stomach, with caffeine, certain medications, carbonated beverages, chocolate, alcohol, and acidic foods or drinks being the most common risk factors. Smoking, a high-fat diet, obesity, and certain conditions like a hiatal hernia can also cause heartburn. Heartburn is also common in pregnant women.
When should I see my doctor about my heartburn?
If your heartburn becomes severe or begins occurring more than twice a week, it is time to schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist to ensure that you do not experience further complications from your condition. Other signs you can use a doctor’s help with your heartburn include waking frequently at night due to heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or if your heartburn does not respond to over-the-counter drugs and lifestyle changes.
Heartburn Treatments in Clearwater, FL
Over-the-counter treatments for heartburn can help in mild cases and, often, lifestyle changes like avoiding certain foods or quitting smoking are enough to help decrease the severity of your symptoms. However, heartburn which does not respond to these treatments may require help from your gastroenterologist. Prescription drugs, endoscopic treatment, and even surgery may be necessary to help patients with severe heartburn.
For more information on heartburn, please contact Dr. Choudhry and Dr. Degala at Advanced Digestive Care in Clearwater, FL. Call (727) 462-0444 to schedule your appointment with your gastroenterologist today!