Acid Reflux and Gastroenterology

Relieve your heartburn

Almost everyone has heartburn sometimes. It's that painful, burning feeling in the chest or throat. But your heartburn may be alerting you to a more serious condition.

Persistent heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, also known as acid reflux. Left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to your esophagus. And it can lead to more threatening health problems, such as bleeding, ulcers, scarring – even cancer.

At Goshen Acid Reflux Center, we’ve developed a comprehensive approach for the diagnosis and treatment of acid reflux. In fact, we’re the only center in the area to offer minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, as well as a transoral incisionless surgical procedure, called TIF.

No single cause of acid reflux

Whatever its cause, acid reflux occurs when a muscular value located between the esophagus and stomach fails to close properly or to stay closed. This valve is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES closes improperly, stomach acids splash back, or reflux, into the esophagus, mouth or windpipe. As the acid touches the lining of the esophagus, you feel a burning sensation in your chest or throat. That’s what is commonly known as heartburn.

How symptoms get worse

Several factors may contribute to acid reflux, or worsen its symptoms – such as smoking, being overweight or pregnant, and drinking alcohol. Although it varies by individual, the consumption of specific foods and beverages can also contribute to acid reflux. These include:

  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate 
  • Citrus juices 
  • Cola
  • Fried or fatty foods 
  • Ketchup
  • Milk
  • Mint
  • Mustard 
  • Spicy foods 
  • Tomato products 
  • Vinegar 

A hiatal hernia is another factor that can contribute to acid reflux. It occurs when the stomach “slips up” into the chest cavity. Frequent heartburn can also cause a shortening of the esophagus, worsening a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia can occur in people of any age, but is more often found in otherwise healthy people age 50 or older. Stress also increases acid production and worsens symptoms.

How to tell if you have acid reflux

The most common symptom of acid reflux is persistent heartburn. It's associated with a burning feeling in the chest just behind the breastbone that occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes to several hours. Regurgitation (involuntary return of partly digested food from the stomach to the mouth) is also a relatively common complaint. Other acid reflux symptoms include:

  • Asthma
  • Bad breath
  • Chronic cough, sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Erosion of tooth enamel
  • Excessive mouthwatering
  • Feeling of food “sticking” in chest or throat
  • Frequent belching
  • Inflammation of gums
  • Sour taste in mouth

Dangers of acid reflux

Besides the obvious effect on quality of life, continued exposure to acid reflux can irritate and damage the esophagus, potentially leading to serious health conditions. Acid reflux can cause:

  • Barrett's Esophagus – precancerous change of esophageal cells
  • Dysphagia – difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Esophageal cancer – most commonly found in tissue lining the lower esophagus in heavy smokers and people who drink alcohol excessively
  • Esophagitis – irritation and inflammation of the esophageal lining
  • Strictures – abnormal narrowing or closure of the esophagus

If you have persistent heartburn, or continue to experience symptoms while on medication, contact our acid reflux specialists at Goshen Physicians Gastroenterology, (574) 537-1625.

  • Heartburn?

    Get relief from that burning sensation.

    Contact our acid reflux specialists.
    Goshen Physicians Gastroenterology
    (574) 537-1625