Do you suffer from heartburn often? Our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Vikram Jayanty, explains what you can do to alleviate your painful heartburn symptoms.
Why do I have heartburn?
Heartburn causes pain in the lower part of your chest and is often accompanied by a bad taste in your mouth. Symptoms occur if the acid from your stomach flows back into your esophagus and irritates the sensitive lining. Heartburn can occur if you lie down or exercise soon after eating. Spicy, fatty or acidic foods, such as onions, tomatoes or citrus fruits, can trigger heartburn. Other possible triggers include obesity, smoking or drinking alcohol. Medications may also play a role in heartburn. If you regularly take ibuprofen or aspirin, you may experience the painful burning sensation in your chest.
How can I relieve heartburn symptoms?
Avoiding foods that have triggered symptoms in the past can help you avoid the pain of heartburn. Because lying down can increase the risk of heartburn, it's best to remain upright or in a seated position for a few hours after meals. Delaying exercise sessions may also be helpful.
Over-the-counter antacids stop the burn by neutralizing acids, while H2 blockers lower stomach acid amounts. If over-the-counter medications aren't helpful, it's a good idea to visit our Houston office, particularly if you suffer from heartburn often. When heartburn occurs two or more times per week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
If GERD is suspected, we may recommend examining your stomach and the upper part of your small intestines with an endoscope. During an endoscopy, we insert a thin, lighted probe that contains a miniature camera into your mouth. As we pass the scope through your esophagus, stomach and intestines, the camera sends real-time images to a digital screen, allowing us to spot any issues that may be causing your symptoms.
Based on the results of the endoscopy and other tests, we may recommend prescription and over-the-counter medications that will help control your symptoms. Although surgery usually isn't needed, it may be the best option in some cases.
Are you tired of living with heartburn pain? Schedule an appointment with our Houston, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. Jayanty, by calling (713) 932-9200.