What’s causing my heartburn?
While acid reflux is often the cause, it isn’t always the cause. There are certain diseases that can also lead to heartburn such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). There are even conditions that you might think are heartburn, because they feel and act just like it, but aren’t. These include gallstones, angina and stomach ulcers. Any kind of chest pain should be evaluated right away by your doctor.
What are things I can do to reduce heartburn?
If you already know that you’re prone to heartburn, then simple lifestyle changes can make a world a difference for your heartburn. This includes,
- Avoiding spicy, acidic, greasy or fatty foods
- Quitting or avoiding smoking
- Avoiding alcohol and coffee
- Staying away from milk, which can have the opposite effect than you might think for heartburn
- Not eating about 2-3 hours before bed
- Eating smaller meals throughout the day
- Avoid clothes that are too tight around the middle
When should I see a doctor?
If your heartburn is something that you deal with at least twice a week or if the problem is getting worse, it’s time to turn to our gastroenterologist for answers. While an over-the-counter heartburn medication may be helpful for the occasional bout of heartburn it should not be used as a long-term or regular treatment. Instead, our gastroenterologist, Dr. Gholami, can provide prescription medications such as a proton pump inhibitor, that can help control symptoms along with changing your diet and lifestyle.
If medication isn’t enough to manage your symptoms, then you may be a candidate for surgery. There are two main types of procedures used to correct structural issues within the esophagus and stomach to prevent heartburn. Surgery may be recommended if all other nonsurgical options and lifestyle changes haven’t provided you with relief.