Probably most people in Central Wisconsin have suffered heartburn or indigestion at one time or another. But if you have it constantly, or it seems to be getting worse, you may need to talk to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in conditions related to the stomach and digestive tract, at GastroIntestinal Associates, SC.
Your heartburn may not be just heartburn – it may be Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – a much more serious condition.
GERD is a condition that affects many people each year. GERD is caused when digestive acids in your stomach flow back into your esophagus, causing burning and irritation. This is called acid reflux, and it happens to nearly everyone once in a while. However, if it happens more than twice a week or becomes debilitating, your doctor may diagnose you with GERD. Left untreated, GERD can cause damage to the lining of your esophagus and possibly lead to other more serious conditions such as Barrett’s, cancer or strictures.
Symptoms of GERD include but are not limited to:
- Heartburn/chest pain
- Sour taste in your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or liquid
- Feeling of a lump in your throat
It is important to note that if you are having severe chest pain, especially if it is accompanied with shortness of breath, jaw pain or arm pain, you should contact a doctor immediately – these are also signs of a heart attack.
Most of the time, GERD can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of both. In many cases, GERD can be controlled simply by simple diet changes and over-the-counter antacids. However, if it becomes serious, your gastroenterologist will probably prescribe stronger medications for it.
Certain foods may trigger GERD. As each person is different, only you will know which foods cause you problems. However, food and drink are not the only triggers of GERD. Other potential triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes
- Hiatal hernia
Your gastroenterologist will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you.
If you are looking for a qualified gastroenterologist contact GastroIntestinal Associates, SC, at (715) 847-2558 we have clinic locations in Wausau, Stevens Point, Antigo, Rhinelander, Woodruff and Eagle River.