Acid reflux is an uncomfortable and annoying condition commonly associated with the symptoms of heartburn. Over time, acid reflux causes irritation and damage to the esophagus, called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you struggle with acid reflux or GERD, Hardeep M. Singh, MD, treats the conditions from his practice in Orange County, California, serving Irvine, Newport Beach and Orange, and can help you manage your symptoms effectively. For more information, call the office today or make an appointment online.
Acid reflux occurs when the acid contained in your stomach overflows into the esophagus, the tube connecting your mouth to your stomach. The esophagus is not resistant to this acid the same way your stomach lining is, so this can cause irritation and damage to the esophagus that manifests in numerous unpleasant ways. This condition is called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short.
While acid reflux every now and then is common for most people, people with GERD experience their symptoms multiple times a week or experience them especially strongly. This disease is often chronic and may require lifelong treatment.
Acid reflux is typified by heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest or upper stomach that occurs after eating a meal, and is often worse at night. You can also experience:
It’s also common to develop further symptoms if you have acid reflux at night when your esophagus is at a horizontal angle and the acid progresses even further up the tube. These symptoms include:
This further damage to the esophagus is a sign that you could benefit from medication for acid reflux. If acid reflux is not well-controlled it can lead to inflammation and scarring of the esophagus. Over time, GERD can lead to Barrett’s Esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer
Most people who have acid reflux and GERD can manage it with medication. A number of over-the-counter medications can help treat the symptoms, and Dr. Singh can help you find the right one for you based on your symptoms and overall health. If necessary, Dr. Singh can prescribe a variety of stronger medications that can neutralize or limit the production of stomach acid. In more extreme situations, he might recommend a surgical procedure to strengthen the muscles that separate your stomach and esophagus, though this is uncommon.