Many adults have experienced acid reflux at one time or another. Acid reflux occurs when stomach fluids regurgitate back up into the esophagus, which can produce a burning sensation in the throat and chest areas known as heartburn. Acid reflux is more properly known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Treatments are available for individuals with chronic GERD. At Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, Dr. Ronald Boisen, Dr. Daryl McClendon, and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy are your gastroenterologists for the treatment of GERD in Anchorage, AK.
Several symptoms are associated with GERD. Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms and involves a burning sensation in the chest and throat areas caused by stomach fluids reaching the mouth. Lying down can aggravate heartburn and worsen the burning sensation. In addition to heartburn, other symptoms of GERD include:
- A bitter taste in the mouth
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Chest pain
Causes of GERD
GERD can be caused by a number of different factors. Certain conditions increase a person’s likelihood of developing GERD. For instance, in women, GERD often occurs during pregnancy even if a woman never experienced GERD prior to being pregnant. Obesity also increases the risk of developing GERD, as does smoking. Consumption of certain foods and beverages can induce GERD, as well. Such foods and beverages include:
- Excess alcohol
- Citrus beverages
- Tomato sauce
- Fatty foods
Treatment of GERD
Over-the-counter antacid products are available for treating mild, occasional instances of GERD. Dietary modifications can also reduce instances of GERD. Chronic and more serious cases of GERD are best treated by a gastroenterologist, as over-the-counter antacids are only effective for a short time. A gastroenterologist can prescribe an appropriate medication for long term GERD relief, such as a prescription antacid or a proton pump inhibitor.
Proton pump inhibitors treat the symptoms of reflux by blocking the final step of the acid production process in the stomach. Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective treatment for individuals experiencing frequent GERD symptoms. Examples of proton pump inhibitor medications include omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeproazole, and pantoprazole. See an experienced gastroenterologist for treatment of GERD in Anchorage.
Effective treatments are available for preventing and alleviating the symptoms of GERD. For treatment of GERD in Anchorage, schedule an appointment with Dr. Boisen, Dr. McClendon, and Dr. Molloy by calling Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease at (907) 569-1333.