Everyone suffers from occasional heartburn, but if you are experiencing symptoms 2-3 times per week, you may have a far more serious illness known as GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
There is a valve-type sphincter that separates your stomach from the base of your esophagus. Under normal circumstances it prohibits stomach acids and foods from re-entering your esophagus. When the valve fails and the acid reenters, or refluxes into the esophagus, it causes burning and scarring. Depending on how high in your system the acid travels you may actually inhale, or aspirate, the acid causing scarring in the lungs that can lead to adult onset asthma.
It is important to seek help from a gastroenterologist if you are suffering from frequent, repetitive, heartburn. Long term damage can occur, occasionally leading to a precancerous condition. Ask your physician to refer you to a Asheville Gastroenterology Associates specialist to evaluate your heartburn.
Some things that can trigger reflux are:
- Fatty, greasy and fried foods
- Citrus drinks (especially orange and grapefruit)
- Tomato products
- Spearmint or peppermint
- Tobacco Products
Symptoms of GERD can include:
- Burping or Hiccoughing after meals
- Hoarseness or change in voice
- Chest Pain