Did you know that approximately 15 million Americans experience heartburn on a daily basis? Left untreated, acid reflux can result in long-term damage and severely impact your quality of life. At Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace and Palos Heights, Illinois, the expert gastroenterologists offer safe, effective treatment to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux. To make your appointment, call or click the online booking tool today.
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common digestive problem where stomach acid aggravates the lining of your esophagus. GERD occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle located at the base of your esophagus, doesn’t close properly. As a result, stomach acid enters your esophagus, causing an unpleasant burning sensation.
Acid reflux affects people of all ages. However, there are certain factors that can increase your risk, including:
You’re also more likely to suffer from acid reflux if you live a primarily sedentary lifestyle, with little exercise.
Experiencing heartburn every once in a while isn’t cause for concern. However, untreated chronic heartburn can damage the soft tissues and structures of your digestive system. If you suffer from heartburn at least twice a week for longer than three weeks at a time, it’s important to seek professional medical help.
To diagnose acid reflux, the team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group performs a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms.
Depending on your symptoms, your provider might also recommend a diagnostic imaging test such as an endoscopy or barium X-ray. During an endoscopy, your provider administers general anesthesia and inserts a thin tube with a camera, called an endoscope, down your esophagus. This procedure typically takes 15-30 minutes and is the easiest way to determine whether or not you have acid reflux.
Most of the time, lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, avoiding acidic foods, and quitting smoking relieve acid reflux. However, if your symptoms persist, your Illinois Gastroenterology Group provider might prescribe antacids, H2 receptor blockers, or foaming agents.
If your symptoms persist even after the use of prescription medications, a minimally invasive surgical operation may be necessary.
Acid reflux is painful, but it’s also easy to treat and manage. Don’t suffer in silence, call or use the online booking tool to make an appointment at Illinois Gastroenterology Group today.