Recognizing Acid Reflux
07. 28. 2017
When it comes to digestive issues, acid reflux is one of the most frequent offenders. An estimated 20 percent of Americans experience reflux on a weekly basis, and roughly 7 percent have symptoms every day.
While acid reflux itself is quite common, it may be unique in the way it affects you. Most individuals experience heartburn, a burning sensation that occurs in the chest directly behind the breastbone. However, some individuals with acid reflux have no symptoms at all, while others experience unusual symptoms that are easily ignored or misdiagnosed. These include:
- Excess saliva
- Sour or bitter taste in the back of the throat
- Chest pain
- Sore throat
If you frequently experience heartburn, or if you develop any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to see your doctor to determine the underlying cause. Chronic acid reflux is the most common sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive condition that can lead to serious long-term complications if left untreated.
An evaluation of symptoms may be all that is needed for your doctor to diagnose GERD, but sometimes further testing is necessary. If your doctor suspects severe acid reflux or wants to investigate problematic symptoms, you may be referred for an upper endoscopy. Upper endoscopy is a simple screening procedure that examines the upper digestive tract for damage, growths, lesions and structural abnormalities. The exam is typically performed in an outpatient setting and usually takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
Once your doctor has evaluated your symptoms and performed all necessary testing, he or she will help you construct a treatment plan that best meets your needs. This may include dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, medications, natural remedies or surgery. Acid reflux can be managed with the right course of treatment, so pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist today!