Acid Reflux

Specialists in Gastroenterology

Board Certified Gastroenterologists located in St. Louis, MO

If you’re one of the 60 million people in the United States living with acid reflux, you can find help at Specialists in Gastroenterology. They work with you on a treatment plan to improve your diet and make lifestyle changes that reduce your risk for chronic acid reflux and its complications. They use endoscopy as a tool to gather information on the severity of acid reflux as it pertains to its effects on the esophagus. The board-certified gastroenterologists also offer in-office Bravo™ pH testing to diagnose the frequency and severity of your acid reflux. Schedule a diagnostic evaluation for acid reflux online or by calling the St. Louis, Missouri, office today.

Acid Reflux Q & A

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux describes the backflow of stomach acids into your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Occasional acid reflux can occur when you eat large meals or consume spicy or acidic foods.

If you have chronic acid reflux, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it might be due to a weakness in the esophageal sphincter. 

This sphincter is a muscle that opens to allow food to pass and closes to keep acids in your stomach. When the muscle doesn’t close all the way, the acids can frequently flow up into your esophagus.

You are at increased risk for acid reflux or GERD if you’re overweight, pregnant, smoke, or eat a poor diet. Certain medications also increase your risk for acid reflux.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

Acid reflux commonly causes heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest after eating. In some cases, the stomach acids move up into your throat and mouth, causing a sour or bitter taste.

Other common symptoms of acid reflux and GERD include:

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Food regurgitation
  • Swallowing difficulties

Without treatment, chronic acid reflux can damage the tissues in your esophagus. You can also develop precancerous changes in your esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus) that increase your risk for esophageal cancer.

When you can’t control acid reflux symptoms with over-the-counter antacids, Specialists in Gastroenterology can evaluate your condition and help you manage it.

How is acid reflux diagnosed?

To confirm your symptoms are related to acid reflux, Specialists in Gastroenterology reviews your lifestyle and diet. They also discuss how often your symptoms occur and how severe they are.

The gastroenterologists offer the Bravo pH monitoring system to evaluate the severity of your acid reflux. This testing involves attaching a miniature pH recorder to the middle of your esophagus during an outpatient endoscopy procedure. The recorder transmits information about your acid reflux to an external receiver.

The recorder monitors the frequency and duration of acid reflux for up to 96 hours before falling off on its own. The recorder then moves through your digestive symptoms and leaves your body naturally as waste. 

You return the receiver to Specialists in Gastroenterology after your test. The physicians use the information from the test to create a treatment plan that meets your specific needs.

How is acid reflux treated?

Specialists in Gastroenterology can help you eat a healthy diet and lose weight to prevent recurrent acid reflux symptoms. You also need to eat smaller meals and avoid laying down after eating.

If over-the-counter antacids aren’t enough to ease heartburn, your provider might recommend a prescription acid-reducing medication.

When lifestyle changes and medications aren’t enough to control your acid reflux symptoms, your provider may refer you for surgery. Surgery involves tightening the esophageal sphincter to prevent the backflow of acids and related complications.

Schedule a diagnostic evaluation for acid reflux by calling Specialists in Gastroenterology or booking online today.