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Posts for tag: Heartburn

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
December 06, 2018
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Heartburn  

Got heartburn? Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is a form of indigestion felt as a burning pain in the chest. It's caused when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus. More than just a minor discomfort, acid indigestion can reduce quality of life. The following tips will help you rid yourself of heartburn.

1. Change your diet. Stay away from beverages and foods that commonly cause heartburn. A good way to work out what beverages and foods trigger your heartburn symptoms is to keep track of what you eat. Common offenders include tea, coffee, tomatoes, garlic, fatty foods, spicy foods, milk, chocolate and peppermint. 

2. Don't overeat. Overeating can trigger heartburn. Big meals put pressure on the muscle that helps keep stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. The more food you eat, the longer it takes for your stomach to empty, which contributes to acid reflux. Try eating five small meals a day to keep reflux at bay.

3. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can trigger heartburn. Alcohol can relax the sphincter muscle at the lower end of your esophagus, causing stomach acid to flow up into your esophagus If your aim is to unwind after a long day at work, try exercise, stretching, listening to soothing music, or deep breathing instead of drinking alcohol.

4. Lose weight. If you overeat, lose weight- but be sure to consult your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise program. The increased risk of heartburn is thought to be due to excess abdominal fat causing pressure on the stomach.

5. Stop smoking. Nicotine is a muscle relaxant. Nicotine can relax the sphincter muscle, causes acid from the stomach to leak upward into the esophagus. Nicotine gums, patches, and lozenges are healthier and safer than cigarettes, and they are less likely to give you heartburn. 

6. Contact your doctor. Your doctor may suggest antacids for occasional heartburn. Sometimes, more powerful prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers and are needed to treat chronic heartburn. When all else fails, surgery may be required to repair the LES.

Chronic heartburn can affect your daily activities and make life frustrating and miserable. Don't hesitate to contact a gastroenterologist about heartburn.

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
September 17, 2018
Category: GI Care
Tags: Heartburn  

Heartburn--it's that uncomfortable, irritating pain in the center of your chest after you eat. Also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, heartburn affects people of all ages. When heartburn persists, your gastroenterologists in Anchorage and Eagle River, AK can Heartburnhelp. At Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease, Dr. Ronald Boisen, Dr. Daryl McClendon and Dr. Jeffrey Molloy understand heartburn and how best to prevent it and treat it.

Why heartburn happens

Maybe your Grandpa called it "backup," and he was right. GERD symptoms happen when stomach contents, including acid, back up into the food pipe, or esophagus.

Why does this occur? A weak esophageal sphincter, the gateway between the food pipe and the stomach, often is to blame as are:

  • A hiatal hernia, when part of the stomach intrudes into the opening in the breathing muscle, or diaphragm
  • Spicy, chocolaty, and greasy food choices which irritate the lining of the stomach and make it more active
  • Obesity
  • Clothes that are too tight at the waistline
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Stress
  • Certain medications

What can you do?

Over the counter antacid medications often control heartburn symptoms. However, if symptoms persist beyond two weeks, say physicians at the Cleveland Clinic, see your gastroenterologist in Anchorage or Eagle River.

He may wish to inspect the lining of your esophagus and stomach with an outpatient procedure called an endoscopy. This lighted instrument helps the doctor uncover conditions such as Barrett's Esophagus, ulcers, and other issues which could be causing your heartburn symptoms.

A common care plan

Many heartburn patients respond well to simple lifestyle modifications such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Wearing clothes which fit properly at the waist
  • Stopping all tobacco
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Stopping food and beverages three hours before bedtime
  • Raising the head of the bed a few inches
  • Sleeping on the left side to alleviate pressure on the abdomen
  • Reducing stress through exercise
  • Taking prescribed proton pump inhibitors or H2 antagonists to reduce acid production in the stomach

Learn more

The American College of Gastroenterology says that at least 60 million Americans experience heartburn. If you're one of them, don't suffer. Contact Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease for an evaluation and help in managing your symptoms. We have two locations to serve you--one in Anchorage and one in Eagle River, AK. Use this number for an appointment at either office: (907) 569-1433. We look forward to seeing you!

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
June 15, 2018
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Heartburn   GERD  

Do you find that most mealtimes end up being ruined by gnawing, nagging heartburn? While most people will experience heartburn at some point during their lifetime, if you are someone who suffers from this problem several times a week then you may just have a digestive disorder known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

 

What is GERD?

Whenever you eat food, it travels from the esophagus to the stomach. Once food enters the stomach, the stomach produces acid to break up the food. Of course, in healthy individuals the food travels from the stomach to the intestines; however, if you have GERD then the acid and food contents actually flow back up to the esophagus from the stomach, irritating the lining of the throat and causing a nasty case of heartburn.

 

What are the symptoms?

Heartburn is a classic symptom of GERD. Heartburn is a burning in the chest that also affects the lining of the throat. Heartburn sometimes produces an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth. Symptoms may get worse if you eat a big meal, consume something spicy or lie down immediately after eating.

 

How is GERD diagnosed?

In some situations a gastroenterologist may be able to determine that you have GERD based on the symptoms you describe and through a simple physical exam; however, sometimes a diagnostic test is required in order to determine whether your symptoms are truly caused by GERD or something else. An upper endoscopy is one common diagnostic procedure performed to check for signs of inflammation or damage to the lining of the esophagus, which are indicative of GERD.

 

What are my treatment options?

Your treatment plan will most likely consist of lifestyle modifications and medications.

 

Lifestyle modifications

If you are overweight or obese you may be at a higher risk for developing GERD. It’s important to lose that excess weight and to maintain a healthy weight to reduce your symptoms. Quit smoking if you are currently a smoker. Make sure to eat slowly and eat smaller meals. Don’t lie down immediately after eating and eat about three hours before going to bed.

 

Also, there are certain foods that can trigger heartburn symptoms including chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, tomato sauce, garlic, or fatty and spicy foods. Limit or avoid any of these foods if they are known to cause you heartburn.

 

Medication

Those with milder symptoms may be able to use an over-the-counter antacid or medication to manage their symptoms; however, if symptoms are moderate-to-severe, or if you have damage to the lining of the esophagus, then you’ll need a stronger medication to reduce or even prevent the production of stomach acid until the damage has healed.

 

If you deal with heartburn on a regular basis or can’t seem to get heartburn under control it’s important that you turn to a GI doctor who can help you find the proper treatment option to prevent digestive complications and to make mealtimes more enjoyable again.

By Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease
May 15, 2018
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Heartburn  

You would love to just be able to sit down and enjoy a meal, but you know that not long afterward you are going to be dealing with the burning, Heartburngnawing pain in your stomach caused by heartburn. No matter if this is something that you have been facing for a while or this is a new issue you are dealing with, it’s important that you have a gastroenterologist that can help you figure out what’s going on.

It’s important to understand that heartburn isn’t a condition but a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid travels back up through the esophagus causing burning and irritation of the esophageal lining.

So, what are the leading culprits of heartburn? There are quite a few things that could cause this issue including:

  • Certain foods or drinks: Everything from alcohol and caffeine to acidic and spicy foods can exacerbate heartburn symptoms. Diets that are high in fatty or fried foods can also make heartburn worse.

  • Medications: There are certain over-the-counter medications that can also cause heartburn to flare-up.

  • Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can actually affect how the lower esophageal sphincter functions, allowing stomach acid to travel back through the esophagus.

  • A hiatal hernia: A condition in which some of the stomach protrudes into the chest.

  • Pregnancy: Pressure placed on the abdomen during pregnancy could increase your chances of heartburn.

  • Obesity: Having any additional pressure placed on the abdomen, which is common if you are overweight or obese, can bring on a nasty bout of heartburn.

Fortunately, there are many ways in which to reduce the severity and frequency of heartburn. Turning to a GI specialist is the best approach, as they can provide you with a variety of lifestyle changes and medications based on your symptoms, current health, lifestyle, and how much damage has already taken place within the esophagus.

From there, they will create a tailored treatment plan with a medication that will either greatly lessen the amount of acid the stomach produces or temporarily block stomach acid from being produced to help promote healing within the esophagus.

Lifestyle changes may include eating smaller meals, not eating right before bedtime, avoiding exacerbating foods or drinks, losing excess weight, and quitting smoking.

Don’t let heartburn make you dread sitting down to enjoy your favorite meals. There are so many ways in which to get your heartburn symptoms under control. If you are having trouble finding the right treatment option for you don’t hesitate to turn to a gastroenterologist for guidance and treatment.