Acid reflux is the most prevalent symptom of GERD. Acid reflux can generate a burning sensation in your chest that can spread to your neck and throat. This sensation is commonly called heartburn. If you endure acid reflux, you may experience a sour or bitter taste on the back of the tongue. Furthermore, it may cause your stomach to regurgitate food or drink into your mouth. Charlotte GERD symptoms may also include nausea, pain when swallowing, chest pain, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, bad breath, and a hoarse voice.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is an indicator of acid reflux. It is a terrible burning feeling in the center of your chest produced by stomach acid irritating the lining of your esophagus. This burning can occur anytime, although it is usually worse after eating. Many people’s heartburn increases when they recline or lie in bed, making it difficult to obtain a decent night’s sleep. Heartburn is commonly treatable with over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn or acid indigestion medications. Additionally, your doctor may potentially prescribe stronger medications to assist control your heartburn.
How to diagnose GERD
Generally, your physician can identify if you have simple acid reflux (not persistent) by asking about your signs and medical history. You and your doctor can discuss managing your symptoms with food and medicine. If these techniques do not work, your provider may recommend that you get evaluated for GERD. GERD tests include the following:
1. Esophageal manometry
Manometry evaluates the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter and esophageal muscles to transport food, usually from the esophagus to the stomach. Your specialist inserts a short, flexible tube with sensors into your nose. As you swallow, these sensors assess the strength of your sphincter, muscles, and spasms.
2. Upper gastrointestinal GI endoscopy and biopsy
An endoscope (a long tube fitted with a light) is sent through your mouth and throat by your provider to examine the lining of your upper GI tract (esophagus and stomach, and duodenum). A tiny piece of tissue (biopsy) is also removed by the physician to be examined for GERD or other disorders.
3. Upper GI series
X-rays of your upper GI tract reveal any GERD-related issues. You consume barium, a liquid that travels through your digestive tract while the X-ray technician takes photographs.
4. Esophageal pH and impedance monitoring and Bravo wireless esophageal pH monitoring
Both of these tests assess the pH levels in your esophagus. Your doctor puts a tiny tube into your stomach through your nose or mouth. Then you’re sent home with a monitor that usually monitors and records your pH while eating and sleeping. The esophageal pH and impedance monitor will be worn for 24 hours, while the Bravo system will be worn for 48 hours.
You are not alone if you occasionally get heartburn. Treating these occasional instances with over-the-counter antiacids and other lifestyle adjustments, such as waiting a few hours after eating to lie down, can provide relief. However, you may have GERD if you have heartburn more than twice a week, and simple lifestyle adjustments don’t appear to be helping. If you have GERD, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Depending on where you are with the issue, OTC medications, prescription medications, and even surgery are all alternatives.
Don’t allow severe heartburn to keep you from living your life. Consult your clinician if you suspect you have GERD symptoms. Call Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, to schedule your appointment today to determine which GERD treatments are best for you.