Acid Reflux in Tulsa, OK

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When we swallow liquids or foods, they pass from our esophagus into the stomach. Between the esophagus and stomach, there is a muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle opens and closes, allowing food to pass into the stomach.

Everyone has stomach acid to help digest the food we eat. Unfortunately, if our lower esophageal sphincter does not close all the way, it may allow some of the acid to flow backward and into the esophagus, potentially causing harm and/or progressing to long-term acid reflux. This is why we experience “heartburn” from acid reflux because the acid causes the sensation of burning. At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, our board-certified gastrointestinal providers often help manage acid reflux and can help relieve heartburn and other related symptoms. If you are seeking acid reflux treatment in Tulsa, OK, contact our team today.

Though acid reflux is extremely common, there is no single, specific, cause of acid reflux. There are many factors that weaken the lower esophageal sphincter and which could then allow stomach acid to move into the esophagus. Acid reflux can be brought on by a variety of foods, medications, pre-existing conditions, or activities following the consumption of food. Different circumstances could affect your acid reflux in many different ways. Some common factors contributing to acid reflux could include:

  • A diet low in fiber
  • Chocolate, citrus fruits, peppermint, tomatoes, black pepper, garlic, and raw onions
  • Consumption of alcohol (red wine in particular)
  • Having a weak or sub-optimal LES
  • Consuming caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Being or becoming pregnant
  • Being obese or overweight
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications (such as ibuprofen, aspirin, those for blood pressure, and muscle relaxers)
  • Lying down quickly after eating
  • Spicy or fatty foods

Acid reflux is commonly referred to as heartburn. The most common symptoms of acid reflux can include:

  • Regurgitation of sour liquids or food
  • Dysphagia
  • Gas
  • Chest pain
  • The feeling of a lump in your throat
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you are dealing with any of these symptoms persistently, then it is possible that you could suffer from a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If that is the case, please reach out to an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location near you to see a gastroenterologist as soon as possible.

The best way to relieve acid reflux is to consult with a board-certified GI provider in Tulsa, OK. However, there are some changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lessen the frequency and severity of symptoms. These can include:

  • Limiting your caffeine intake
  • Eating slowly and in moderation
  • Stopping smoking
  • Refraining from eating for, at minimum, two hours before laying down to sleep
  • Sleeping at an incline with your feet lower than your head
  • Losing weight (if overweight)
  • Being sure to stand or sit upright after eating
  • Avoidance of "trigger" beverages and foods
  • Disclosing to your GI provider any medication you are currently taking

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Most people have experienced the burning sensation of acid reflux at some point during their lives. However, GERD is the more serious and recurring form of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is usually diagnosed when you experience acid reflux more than twice a week and you have swelling in your esophagus. If you are having the symptoms of acid reflux three times a week or more, we highly suggest you to consult a GI provider as soon as possible.

When chronic acid reflux or other uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms arise, it is time to contact a digestive health specialist. The skilled specialists at your nearest Adult Gastroenterology Associates location work to educate and treat patients with digestive health conditions, like acid reflux and GERD. If you or a loved one think you may have GERD or need treatment for acid reflux in Tulsa, OK, contact our team to request a consultation.

When should you see a doctor for acid reflux?

It is important to consult a physician if you suffer acid reflux at least twice a week, as this could be a sign of GERD. Gastrointestinal reflux disease is a chronic type of acid reflux that may damage the upper part of your GI tract if left untreated. The team at Adult Gastroenterology Associates can review your acid reflux symptoms and provide a diagnosis for the condition. Our doctors can also help you determine triggers to alleviate acid reflux symptoms.

How long should it take for acid reflux to improve after treatment begins?

Treatment for acid reflux typically involves a mix of dietary changes and medication therapy. Once you find the correct treatment program for your condition, it may take about 1 – 3 weeks until you begin to heal and experience results.

What foods and beverages should you avoid if you have acid reflux?

Specific foods and beverages can trigger or heighten the symptoms of acid reflux. A few common items you might avoid if you are diagnosed with acid reflux are:

  • Alcohol
  • Peppermint
  • Greasy foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Carbonated and caffeinated drinks (such as seltzer, soda, coffee, and tea)
What options help relieve acid reflux outside of medication?

Prescription and over-the-counter medications can help manage your acid reflux. But there are also other options you can try to minimize symptoms. These include:

  • If you are a person who is overweight, it might be wise to try to lose weight. Your provider can put together a weight loss plan based on your needs and goals.
  • Try not to go to sleep right after dinner. Instead, wait about three hours after eating before going to sleep so the acid will remain inside your stomach rather than regurgitate back up.
  • Eat more meals in smaller quantities throughout the day instead of three large meals. This can help you avoid becoming overly full, which can increase acid reflux symptoms.
  • Stop using cigarettes or other tobacco products.

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Dr. Volak carefully listened to my teen’s concerns and asked thorough questions to better understand the issue. He explained things to us rather well, even drawing some pictures to explain things. Medication was also not his immediate solution , which is deeply appreciated, especially when there are alternatives in this case that may actually address the root of the problem. I hope he trains medical students!

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