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Most doctors can treat GERD. Or you may want to visit an internist–a doctor who specializes in internal medicine–or a gastroenterologist–a doctor who treats diseases of the stomach and intestines. Doctors usually recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to relieve heartburn. Many people with GERD also need medication.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that occurs when acidic stomach juices, or food and fluids back up from the stomach into the esophagus.
GERD can usually be controlled with medication. But if medications don’t help or you wish to avoid long-term medication use, your doctor might recommend: Fundoplication. The surgeon wraps the top of your stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter, to tighten the muscle and prevent reflux.
Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) have extensive experience with the tools that diagnose GERD. They are specialists in treating the complications associated with GERD, including sinus and ear infections, throat and laryngeal inflammation, Barrett’s esophagus and ulcerations of the esophagus.
Your first appointment with your gastroenterologist will probably take 30-60 minutes. They’ll ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and any treatments you’ve tried. Other visits could be shorter.
- Stage 1: Mild GERD. Patients experience mild symptoms once or twice a month. …
- Stage 2: Moderate GERD. …
- Stage 3: Severe GERD. …
- Stage 4: Reflux induced precancerous lesions or esophageal cancer.
LPR symptoms typically consist of hoarseness, sore throat, the feeling of a lump in the throat and throat clearing. However, it is also suggested that reflux can impact the eyes.
- abdominal discomfort, which may be worse on an empty stomach.
- nausea or vomiting.
- decreased appetite.
- unexplained weight loss.
Doctors may order an upper GI endoscopy to check for complications of GERD or problems other than GERD that may be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may order an upper GI endoscopy to help diagnose GERD.
PPIs are the most powerful medications available for treating GERD.
This may be uncomfortable, but it is not serious. You can usually get relief from an antacid, like Rolaids or Tums, or an H2 blocker, such as Pepcid AC or Zantac.
If you had stomach issues, you’d check in with a gastroenterologist. And if you developed an issue with your head or neck—including your ears, nose, sinuses, throat, voice box, thyroid and esophagus—you’d take a trip to an otolaryngologist.
Commonly, LPR is diagnosed by an otolaryngologist, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, during an office examination. During this visit, the ENT specialist might perform a laryngoscopy, which uses a special camera passing through the nose to look at the throat, vocal cords, and possibly even the esophagus.
Since GERD and LPR often occur together, we do sometimes collaborate with a GI doctor. The GI will focus on the esophagus and stomach, while we will focus on the throat area. When it comes to LPR, the most effective treatment is usually a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
- Abdominal discomfort (bloating, pain or cramps)
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Acid reflux (heartburn)
- Diarrhea, constipation (or sometimes both)
- Fecal incontinence.
- Loss of appetite.
They actually have very different meanings. Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.
Mild acid reflux typically occurs in the same place each time you experience a flare-up of your symptoms. However, if the pain moves around your stomach or chest or it relocates to a new area entirely, you should go to the ER or your doctor immediately.
- Eat sparingly and slowly. When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. …
- Avoid certain foods. …
- Don’t drink carbonated beverages. …
- Stay up after eating. …
- Don’t move too fast. …
- Sleep on an incline. …
- Lose weight if it’s advised. …
- If you smoke, quit.
Plain water: Frequently consuming water can make the digestion process better and curb GERD symptoms.
- Stage 1: Mild GERD. Minimal acid reflux occurs once or twice a month. …
- Stage 2: Moderate GERD. …
- Stage 3: Severe GERD. …
- Stage 4: Precancer or cancer.
LPR is similar to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LED) does not close properly and the stomach contents are allowed to leak back or reflux into the esophagus and then up to the voice box and possibly the back of the nose and sinus cavity.
Occasional acid reflux isn’t usually associated with long-term or serious complications. However, when acid reflux occurs frequently and is left untreated, it can lead to conditions such as esophagitis, ulcers, strictures, aspiration pneumonia, and Barrett’s esophagus.
Takeaway. Heartburn and ear pain can both be symptoms of acid reflux. If you experience ear pain from acid reflux, it’s most likely 1 of 2 extraesophageal variants of GERD: LPR or NPR. If you have a recurring earache or experience heartburn often, talk with your doctor.
APPLESAUCE: trying to avoid using oil and butter in foods can be difficult, but you’re setting yourself up for heartburn! Substituting butter and oils with applesauce will prevent this problem. Applesauce will reduce the amount of fat and increase fiber to your meal.
For most people acid levels return to normal within one to two weeks. What should I do if I develop problems?
Your gastroenterologist may recommend that you get an endoscopy if you are dealing with: Unexplained abdominal pain. Persistent bowel changes (diarrhea; constipation) Chronic heartburn or chest pain.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that screening using upper endoscopy should not be regularly conducted in women of any age or in men under the age of 50 with heartburn because the prevalence of cancer is extremely low in these populations.
We found a significant relationship between the presence of GERD symptoms, the size of air bubbles and esophageal dilation (ED) on the CT scan.
Prilosec (omeprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor that treats severe stomach acid-related conditions like GERD. Common Prilosec side effects include headache, stomach pain and nausea. Long-term Prilosec use has been linked to kidney damage, bone fractures and other dangerous side effects.
Prescription omeprazole is used to allow the esophagus to heal and prevent further damage to the esophagus in adults and children 1 year of age and older with GERD. Prescription omeprazole is also used to treat conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome in adults.
If you have reflux, medicine that reduces the stomach acid helps your body heal. It might take 1 to 3 weeks to heal.
Bone fractures warning: People who take several doses of a proton pump inhibitor drug, such as omeprazole, every day for a year or longer may have an increased risk of bone fractures. These bone breaks may be more likely to happen in your hip, wrist, or spine. Talk to your doctor about your risk of bone fractures.
Generic Name: omeprazole Omeprazole is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems (such as acid reflux, ulcers). It works by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach makes. It relieves symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and persistent cough.
You should not take it for more than 14 days or repeat a 14-day course more often than every 4 months unless directed by a doctor. Do not crush, break, or chew the tablet. This decreases how well Prilosec OTC works in the body.
TNE is an in-office test that your doctor can perform to diagnose a problem with your esophagus or stomach. TNE involves a doctor inserting a narrow tube into your nose. You swallow the tube, and a light and a tiny camera on the end help your doctor see the esophagus and stomach. TNE is simple and does not hurt.
- Bitter taste in the throat.
- Chronic cough or excessive throat clearing.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Postnasal drip.
- Sensation of a lump in the throat.
- Sore or burning sensation in the throat.
Diagnosing Acid Reflux With Esophageal Manometry Your doctor may perform an esophageal manometry to help diagnose acid reflux. This is a test to assess your esophageal function. It also checks to see if the esophageal sphincter — a valve between the stomach and esophagus — is working as well as it should.