You may be expecting that burning sensation in your chest after overeating at a party. However, if the sensation occurs regularly, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which requires medical treatment to prevent long-term damage to your delicate esophageal tissue. Board-certified gastroenterologist and internal medicine physician Daniel Reich, MD, can diagnose and treat GERD to alleviate your symptoms and improve digestive health. To schedule a consultation, contact his office in Forest Hills, Queens, in New York City by phone or online today.
GERD is a condition in which the contents of your stomach flow up into your esophagus. This occurs when the sphincter muscle that separates your stomach and esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), isn’t closing properly.
You may develop GERD if your LES muscle is weak or if you have a hiatal hernia. However, obesity is the most common cause of GERD. The pressure from the excess body weight weakens the LES barrier between your stomach and esophagus, which allows the contents to reflux up.
Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and eating certain types of foods (spicy or acidic) may exacerbate your GERD.
Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD. In addition the burning sensation in your chest, your GERD may also cause wheezing, a sore throat, or a hoarse voice.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule an evaluation, so you get the proper diagnosis and care. Over time, the acidity from your stomach can damage your esophagus and lead to conditions such as esophageal strictures or Barrett’s esophagus.
Your primary care physician may be able to diagnose GERD based on your symptoms and recommend treatments to reduce your symptoms.
However, if your symptoms don’t improve with standard treatments, such as lifestyle modification and over-the-counter medication, then your primary care physician may refer you to Dr. Reich for a more comprehensive evaluation.
In addition to reviewing your symptoms, medical history, and family history, Dr. Reich may perform diagnostic tests, such as an upper endoscopy, to further evaluate your digestive tract to assess the damage and develop a treatment plan focused on healing your digestive system. He may also suggest pH testing, which measures the acid level in your esophagus.
Dr. Reich develops individualized treatment plans for the management of GERD based on the results of his examination and the severity of your symptoms.
Your treatment plan may include medication that reduces acid production in your stomach. He may also suggest medication that improves muscle activity in your stomach and esophagus to reduce the reflux.
In addition to medication, Dr. Reich also encourages lifestyle modification to reduce your symptoms, which may include diet changes, weight loss, and smoking cessation.
If medication fails to improve your GERD, Dr. Reich may suggest surgery to strengthen the barrier between your stomach and esophagus.
GERD is common and requires medical management. For comprehensive gastrointestinal care from the best gastroenterologist in the area, call the office of Daniel Reich MD, or request an appointment online today.