Know the signs of acid reflux and when to see a doctor.
While a night of spicy tacos might leave you dealing with the occasional bout of heartburn, if you find yourself dealing with acid reflux regularly then you may be a little concerned. After all, acid reflux can be more than a minor nuisance. If left untreated it can alter the esophageal lining and even increase your risk for cancer. If you are dealing with acid reflux, our DFW area board-certified surgeon Dr. Chukwuma Apakama can help.
What is acid reflux?
The stomach produces acid that breaks down food, however, when this acid flows back up into the esophagus it can irritate the lining. This is known as acid reflux. As a result, you may also notice a gnawing, burning sensation in your chest known as heartburn. The problem is that frequent bouts of acid reflux can cause serious and sometimes irreparable damage to the lining of the esophagus.
How is acid reflux treated?
If you only deal with acid reflux occasionally then you may find relief through simple over-the-counter antacids. There are quite a few medications on the market that can help to reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces to improve symptoms. Lifestyle changes may also provide you with relief. Those lifestyle changes include:
- Losing excess weight
- Avoiding acidic, spicy, or processed foods
- Eating smaller meals
- Avoiding eating at least three hours before bed
- Not lying down immediately after eating
- Avoiding pants or belts that put too much pressure around the waist
If you deal with acid reflux two or more times a week, then it’s time to turn to our DFW area doctor for a more effective solution. While over-the-counter medications are great for those occasional episodes of acid reflux, if you are dealing with this problem regularly then you might have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which requires medication to help reduce or halt the production of stomach acid so the esophagus can heal. In more severe cases, laparoscopic surgery may be necessary to correct the lower esophageal sphincter to prevent acid from traveling up the esophagus from the stomach.
Whether you are looking to lose weight or treat your acid reflux, turn to our DFW area doctor, Dr. Apakama at CGA Weight Loss and Surgical Specialists. To schedule a consultation, call us at (214) 440-1245.