Acid reflux can cause burning, discomfort and respiratory problems
Our Plano gastroenterologist, Michael Weisberg MD, is an experienced practitioner with the knowledge to help patients who suffer from acid reflux. Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux, is sometimes referred to as heartburn, acid indigestion or acid regurgitation. Occasional heartburn is very common. The American College of Gastroenterology suggests that more than 15 million people in the United States have gastroesophageal reflux symptoms daily.1 It’s important for patients to see a physician when they experience problems because untreated reflux can lead to serious medical complications.
Symptoms caused by acid reflux
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows backward and rises upward into the esophagus. When this happens, patients usually experience heartburn. They may also taste food or stomach acid rising into the throat and mouth.
When a patient has gastroesophageal reflux symptoms two or more times per week, they may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Patients with GERD experience acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn, but they may also experience one or more other symptoms.
- Tasting food or stomach acid rising up into the throat and mouth
- A burning feeling in the chest, beneath the sternum or breastbone, or in the center of the abdomen
- Nausea, regurgitation or vomiting
- Problems swallowing
- Pain that occurs while swallowing
- Bad breath
- Respiratory problems, including chronic cough
If a patient has repeated problems with acid reflux that lead to GERD, the esophageal lining is repeatedly exposed to stomach juice, a very strong substance consisting of digestive enzymes, acid and other substances that harm the lining.
Chronic acid reflux can cause serious medical complications
Patients with GERD who attempt to treat their acid reflux symptoms with over-the-counter medications, instead of consulting a board certified gastroenterologist like Dr. Weisberg, may develop serious complications.
Esophagitis is an inflamed esophagus. If the condition becomes chronic, it can cause precancerous esophageal changes.
Barrett’s esophagus is a serious complication that signals precancerous changes in the esophageal lining, Barrett’s esophagus highly increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer may occur if patients have chronic GERD for many years, especially if it is left untreated.
Respiratory problems are a side effect of chronic acid reflux that most patients don’t anticipate. If a patient who has GERD gets stomach juice in the lungs, it irritates both the lungs and the throat and can cause several problems.
- Hoarse voice or laryngitis
- Chronic dry cough
- Sore throat
- Chest congestion
Our Plano gastroenterologist diagnoses and treats patients with acid reflux
Patients who suffer occasional or chronic problems caused by gastroesophageal reflux can rely on Dr. Weisberg’s years of experience and specialized knowledge. He diagnoses and treats acid reflux with everything from lifestyle changes and medications to advanced treatment plans.
Contact us to make an appointment with our Plano gastroenterologist.
Chronic Acid Reflux Complications
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Esophageal cancer
- Respiratory problems
- Trouble swallowing
- Chronic cough