That burning sensation you feel in your chest or throat after eating a big meal is heartburn. Though not an uncommon symptom, regular heartburn may mean you have an underlying chronic gastrointestinal condition. The experienced gastroenterology team at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C. in St. Clair Shores and Macomb, Michigan, specializes in diagnosing and treating the causes of heartburn. To find out what’s causing the burning sensation, call the office nearest you.
Heartburn is a symptom. It causes a burning sensation in your throat or the center of your chest that lasts a few minutes or a few hours.
You develop heartburn when the acid from your stomach refluxes up into your esophagus. This usually happens because of problems involving your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the band of muscles that separate the stomach from the esophagus.
After you swallow, the LES opens, allows food in the esophagus to pass into the stomach, and then quickly closes. If your LES can’t close fully, the acid in your stomach escapes into the esophagus, causing that burning sensation.
There are many health conditions that may cause heartburn. Common causes include:
You may also develop heartburn from stress or wearing clothes that are too tight around the waist.
It’s not uncommon to have heartburn every once in a while. However, if you have heartburn two or more times a month, you need to schedule an appointment at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C.
Frequent heartburn means you have GERD, a chronic gastrointestinal condition that may lead to other problems like esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, or esophageal cancer if left untreated.
The team at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C., conducts a thorough exam when you come in with concerns about heartburn to determine the cause. Your evaluation may include an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, a diagnostic test that allows them to see the lining of your esophagus.
They may also perform a 24-hour pH monitor, which measures how often stomach acid flows up into the esophagus and the degree of the acidity.
Treatment for heartburn depends on the cause and the severity and frequency of symptoms. In most cases, you can get relief from the burning sensation with over-the-counter (OTC) medication and lifestyle changes.
If OTC medications fail to ease your heartburn symptoms, the team at G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C., may prescribe heartburn medications like acid blockers or proton pump inhibitors (PPI).
For patients with GERD, the team schedules regular follow-up appointments to monitor symptoms and adjust treatment as needed.
Don’t ignore your heartburn. Call G.I. Medicine Associates, P.C., to schedule an appointment and find relief.