Acid Reflux in Denver, CO
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What is acid reflux?
When we swallow, liquid or food passes from the esophagus into the stomach. In between the esophagus and stomach is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This opens and closes, allowing food to pass through into the stomach.
We all have stomach acid to assist in the digestion of the food we consume. Unfortunately, if the lower esophageal sphincter fails to close completely, it may allow a portion of that acid to migrate in reverse and up into the esophagus, possibly causing harm and/or leading to chronic acid reflux. Acid reflux is the burning sensation that we identify as “heartburn." At Denver Digestive Health Specialists, our board-certified GI providers commonly help manage acid reflux and are able to help reduce heartburn and related symptoms. If you need acid reflux treatment in Denver, CO, contact your nearest location today.
What causes acid reflux or heartburn?
While acid reflux is extremely common, there is no one primary cause. There are a number of factors that might lead to a loss of strength in the LES, permitting acid from our stomach to move back up the digestive tract. Acid reflux could be instigated by certain medications, foods, pre-existing conditions, or some activities following eating. Differing circumstances could impact a person's reflux in very different ways. Examples of frequent causes of acid reflux include:
- Alcohol (red wine in particular)
- Hiatal hernia
- Being obese or overweight
- Having a weak or compromised LES
- A diet low in fiber
- Bubbly drinks
- Certain medications (such as ibuprofen, aspirin, muscle relaxers, and those for blood pressure)
- Eating a heavy meal then lying down
- Fatty or spicy foods
- Citrus fruits
- Black pepper
- Raw onions
What are common acid reflux symptoms?
Oftentimes, acid reflux is called heartburn. Typical symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquids
- The feeling of a lump in the throat
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the chest
If you are dealing with any of these symptoms on a regular basis, then you may suffer from a chronic form of acid reflux, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
How can a person relieve acid reflux?
The best and most successful method for relieving acid reflux is with the help of a board-certified gastroenterologist. However, there are some lifestyle changes that you can implement that could help lessen the frequency and severity of symptoms. These may include (but are not limited to):
- Sleeping at an incline with your head raised above your feet
- Losing extra weight
- Eating slowly and in moderation
- Not eating for a minimum of two hours before lying down to sleep
- Avoidance of "trigger" foods and beverages
- Being sure to stand or sit upright after eating
- Limiting your caffeine intake
- Telling your gastroenterologist about the medication(s) you are currently taking
- Stopping smoking
What is the difference between GERD and acid reflux?
The majority of people have known the burning sensation of acid reflux at some point in their lives. However, GERD is the more dangerous and recurring type of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is typically diagnosed when a person suffers from acid reflux more than twice a week and also has inflammation in the esophagus. Should you struggle with the symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, please meet with one of our GI specialists in Denver, CO today.
Find treatment for acid reflux
When consistent acid reflux or other concerning gastrointestinal symptoms occur, it's time to seek out the help of a GI physician. The experienced providers at Denver Digestive Health Specialists strive to educate and care for people with GI concerns, such as acid reflux and GERD. If you are tired of living with acid reflux and are in Denver, CO, request a consultation at one of our locations near you.
Acid Reflux FAQs
How do I know when to see a doctor for acid reflux?
It is vital to consult a gastroenterologist if you have symptoms of acid reflux twice or more weekly, as this could be a sign you have gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a severe type of acid reflux that can cause damage to your upper gastrointestinal tract if left untreated. The gastroenterology providers at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can review your current symptoms and make a diagnosis of GERD. Our GI providers can help you determine triggers to reduce symptoms.
How long should acid reflux take to smooth over after treatment?
Acid reflux treatment typically involves a combination of medicine and changes in your diet. Once you find the proper treatment program for your condition, it might take a few weeks until your body begins to get better and get results.
Should I avoid any particular foods and beverages if I have acid reflux?
Certain foods and drinks can instigate or worsen acid reflux symptoms. Food or drinks you may want to avoid if you suffer from acid reflux are:
- Greasy foods
- Caffeinated or carbonated drinks (such as soda, seltzer, coffee, and tea)
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
Are there any ways to relieve acid reflux without requiring medicine?
Even though there are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that could reduce your acid reflux, there are several treatment options available that don’t include medication. A few are:
- Eat more meals but smaller amounts throughout the day instead of the standard three larger meals. This can help you from becoming overly full, which can cause further reflux.
- Avoid going to sleep just after you’ve eaten. We suggest you refrain from eating at least three hours prior to going to sleep so the acid will remain in your stomach instead of regurgitating.
- If you are overweight or obese, it’s suggested that you consider losing some weight. Your GI provider should be willing to create a weight loss program ideal for your goals.
- Quit smoking or using tobacco products.
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