If you’ve experienced acid reflux, you’re familiar with how uncomfortable it can be. Stomach contents seep back into the esophagus, which causes heartburn. The condition, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), affects millions of Americans each year. If you’re dealing with acid reflux, you’re not alone, and our team can help you find relief from your symptoms.
What Does Acid Reflux Feel Like?
If you experience the following, you may have acid reflux:
- Burning pain that radiates from the stomach to the abdomen and chest
- Sour taste in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
If your acid reflux flares up at night, you might also experience laryngitis, a chronic cough, asthma and difficulty sleeping.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Typically, after eating, a valve on your esophagus closes. This prevents acid produced by the digestive tract from backing up into the esophagus. When acid reflux occurs, the valve fails to seal properly, and the stomach contents flow into the throat and esophagus.
What Foods Trigger Acid Reflux?
The following foods might exacerbate your acid reflux symptoms:
- Carbonated drinks
- Items that are high in acidity, oil, fat or salt
How do I Get Rid of Acid Reflux?
Our provider will recommend several lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications to begin with. If these do not relieve your symptoms, prescription medications or surgery might be suggested.
What Can I Do for Acid Reflux at Home?
- Avoid foods that worsen your symptoms.
- Chew your food thoroughly.
- Don’t lie down for at least three hours after a meal.
- Elevate the head of your bed.
- Stop smoking, which will help the esophagus’ ability to function.
Your doctor might also suggest over-the-counter medications that reduce or block stomach acid. Always consult a medical provider before starting medication.
What if At-Home Remedies Don’t Help?
If your symptoms persist, your doctor will meet with you to find an option that will help — likely prescription medication or surgery.
Prescription medication for acid reflux includes H-2-receptor blockers, proton pump inhibitors and options for strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter. Our ENT will discuss how these medications work and any potential side effects before you begin taking them.
Though acid reflux is typically managed with medication, some cases require surgery. If our provider determines that this is the best fit for you, they’ll tell you what to expect during the procedure and any necessary follow-up care. Acid reflux can be uncomfortable and painful, but you don’t have to deal with these symptoms by yourself. Our throat specialist at Charleston ENT & Allergy will help guide you on the path to recovery. You aren’t in this alone.