Treatment for Heartburn and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
When stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus, it can cause discomfort. This burning sensation in the lower chest is referred to as heartburn, and most people have experienced heartburn at least occasionally. When heartburn becomes chronic, you may have a more serious stomach or esophagus problem. Danny Shouhed, M.D. is a board certified general surgeon who offers advanced treatment for heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) at our clinic in Los Angeles.
Causes and Symptoms of Heartburn and GERD
There are many different factors that can contribute to both heartburn and GERD. Both are often caused by a weakened or dysfunctional LES muscle, the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus. This can occur from routine consumption of coffee, soda, alcohol, chocolate, fried/fatty foods and peppermint, which can relax the LES. Smoking cigarettes can also relax the LES. However, the most common risk factor for chronic heartburn and GERD is obesity.
Chronic heartburn can occur without GERD, but GERD rarely occurs without heartburn. It is one of the main symptoms of GERD, accompanied by other issues. These can include wheezing/asthma, regurgitation, hoarse/sore throat, nocturnal choking, excessive gas and difficulty swallowing.
Treatment for heartburn and GERD usually begins with non-invasive lifestyle changes and medications. Avoiding foods and beverages that impact the LES and quitting smoking can be effective, as well as eating smaller meals and not eating close to bedtime. Medications to control GERD and chronic heartburn include those to reduce acid, including H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. The most effective treatment for those who are overweight or obese is losing weight, including using bariatric surgery. Dr. Shouhed also offers surgical intervention for GERD and chronic heartburn when other treatments are not effective.
If you suffer from chronic heartburn or GERD, there are effective treatments available. To learn more about treatments for GERD relief, contact our office in Los Angeles to schedule an appointment with Dr. Danny Shouhed.