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When Should I See a Doctor for Acid Reflux?

When acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, it causes a condition known as acid reflux. This typically occurs when the sphincter (valve) that keeps stomach acid from entering the esophagus is not working properly. The most common acid reflux symptoms are burning in the chest or throat. 

Are you tired of living with that burning sensation?

If you get acid reflux twice a week or more, you should see a doctor. 

  • Over-the-counter or prescription medications may help prevent acid reflux by reducing the amount of acid produced in your stomach. 
  • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, or changing your diet may help address the symptoms and the underlying problem. 
  • If medications and lifestyle changes are not enough, you may need surgery to repair the sphincter at the bottom of your esophagus.

Texas ENT Specialists -- when you want the best

We have more than 30 board-certified otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat specialists) in 15 locations spanning four counties in the greater Houston area. Doctors and staff at Texas ENT Specialists Centers of Excellence are committed to educating our patients about their symptoms and treatment options. Our patients are our priority, and our philosophy of care is our driving force. Contact us for help if you are suffering with acid reflux. 

How major is acid reflux surgery?

Surgery may be needed if lifestyle changes or medications are not successful in treating acid reflux. Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery is an advanced, minimally invasive procedure to correct the condition by creating an effective valve mechanism at the base of the esophagus. This procedure is performed under anesthesia through a series of small incisions in the abdomen. 

Will I need to plan for time off after acid reflux surgery?

Most patients can be discharged to return home the day after surgery. You will be encouraged to engage in light activity while recovering at home. Most people can go back to their usual activities in just a few weeks. Avoid heavy lifting or pushing as instructed by your doctor. 

Acid reflux FAQ

Are acid reflux and GERD the same thing?

Acid reflux is closely related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but the two terms do not necessarily mean the same thing. Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acids into the esophagus. It can progress into GERD, a condition involving frequent acid reflux. Symptoms of GERD, which may be worse while lying down at night, may include:

  • Regurgitation of sour liquid or food
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing

Is acid reflux common during pregnancy?

Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, is a common condition during pregnancy. It may be caused by a combination of hormonal changes and the growing fetus pressing against the stomach. Changes in diet and lifestyle may help, and certain acid reflux medications are safe to take during pregnancy. 

What lifestyle changes can help with acid reflux?

For occasional acid reflux, lifestyle changes may help. These changes may include losing weight, eating smaller meals, not eating two to three hours before bedtime, elevating the head of the bed, and avoiding foods that trigger heartburn. 

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