We had a great turnout for the June Women’s Connection luncheon which focused on acid reflux.
Kyle Vincent, MD, a surgeon with Via Christi Clinic, explained the causes of acid reflux and treatment options.
Acid reflux is defined as any symptoms or esophageal mucosal damage that results from reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus. According to Dr. Vincent, more than 50 percent of the population has symptoms of acid reflux on a monthly basis; 19.8 percent have symptoms on a weekly basis; 4-7 percent have symptoms on a daily basis.
- Heartburn; substernal burning discomfort
- Reflux after eating
- Aggravated by change in position
- Prompt relief by antacids
- Regurgitation; bitter, acidic fluid in the mouth when lying down or bending over
So when should you be concerned that acid reflux isn’t the cause of your heartburn?
Reflux symptoms are almost never associated with shortness of breath, difficulty breathign, or feeling like you’re going to pass out. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to seek immediate medical care as they could be the sign of a heart attack.
Dr. Vincent explained that there are some lifesyle modifications you can make to improve acid reflux:
- Elevate the head of your bed 4-6 inches
- Avoid eating within 2-3 hours of bedtime
- Lose weight if overweight
- Stop smoking
- Modify your diet: Eat smaller more frequent meals; avoid fatty/fried foods, peppermint, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee and tea
There are a variety of medications that can be prescribed to help with the symptoms of acid reflux; for more severe cases, surgery might be an option.
You can see a full recap of Dr. Vincent’s PowerPoint presentation below: