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Acid Reflux/Heartburn

It’s estimated that up to 30% of the U.S. population may suffer from heartburn/acid reflux. This is about 15 million Americans that have heartburn daily.

Long term effects of acid reflux can eventually lead to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This may stem from a weak lower esophagus that causes reflux of stomach contents back up into the esophagus.

 

Symptoms may include (but not limited to):

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Belching
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Abdominal pain/burning
  • Respiratory problems

Causes May Include:

  • Underlying Infection – Infections like Helicobacter Pylori can live in the stomach lining. This can affect your body’s ability to produce appropriate levels of acid.
  • Overweight/Obesity – Being overweight can put increased pressure on the stomach, causing symptoms of acid reflux to worsen.
  • Food Sensitivities – Certain foods like fried foods, citrus, chocolate, coffee, sodas, and alcohol can make these symptoms worse.
  • Medications – Some medications can cause reflux including: Alpha Blockers, NSAIDs, sedatives, and nitrates.
  • Hiatal Hernia—The upper part of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm helps to prevent spillage of stomach contents into the esophagus.

Complications May Include:

  • Type II Diabetes
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Esophagitis
  • Barrett’s Esophagus
  • Sinusitis
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

To make a diagnosis, your doctor may order extensive laboratory testing and perform a physical. Your doctor will use this information to create a treatment plan that is specific to YOU.

Treatment May Include:

  • Addressing Lifestyle Changes
    • Improving diet
    • Weight loss
    • Exercise recommendations
    • Stress management techniques
  • Addressing Underlying GI infections
    • Antimicrobials- To eliminate bacterial infections
    • Antivirals- To eliminated viral infections
    • Antifungals- To eliminated fungal infections
    • Antiparasitic- To eliminate parasitic infections
  • Improving Insulin Resistance and/or Metabolic Syndrome
    • Inositol – Helps to regulate levels and reduce insulin resistance.
    • Berberine – Can reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
    • Niacin – Can help reduce elevated cholesterol levels.

Although heartburn is a common condition, it’s cause can vary from person to person. People may or may not have all of the symptoms listed above. That’s why it’s important to work with someone who can take a thorough approach to managing your case. It is NOT normal to have acid reflux regularly. Schedule a call with one of our doctors to discuss this further.