Best GERD & Heartburn Doctors Gastroenterologist NYC | GI Doctors NYC
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD, is a medical condition treated by the NYC Gastroenterolgist, Dr. Shawn Khodadadian, in which the acidic juices in your stomach splash back into your esophagus (“acid reflux”), irritating the esophageal lining. This burning sensation also is called heartburn. Most people with GERD who seek medical help from gastroenterologists find relief by treating the symptoms, so advanced diagnostic techniques are not always needed. Antacids are usually very effective. Further tests can be done if symptoms are severe or do not respond to treatment.
Your esophagus transfers food from your mouth to your stomach. It has two sphincters, one at the top in your throat and one at the bottom where it connects to your stomach. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter (or LES) maintains a strong grip, allowing the one-way flow of food into your stomach. If the LES weakens or doesn’t close properly, however, the digestive enzymes and acid in your stomach can escape back up into your esophagus.
Many people experience acid reflux after eating certain foods. In these instances, over-the-counter medications may work well to temporarily calm the symptoms. If you experience acid indigestion frequently enough that it interferes with your life, you should seek medical help.
Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Common symptoms of GERD include heartburn and/or acid regurgitation. Heartburn starts as a burning sensation in your chest. It occasionally can rise into your throat, leaving a sour taste in your mouth. When you experience this symptom, it’s called acid regurgitation.
Other symptoms involve unexplained chest pain, acid reflux, wheezing, sore throat, dry cough, or difficulty swallowing. If you have these symptoms along with shortness of breath or radiating arm pain, it could be the sign of a heart attack and you should seek immediate medical attention.
You also make an appointment with the NYC gastroenterologist if you have symptoms such as unexplained weight loss or internal bleeding in addition to heartburn or acid regurgitation. If your symptoms persist after you’ve made simple diet and lifestyle changes, or if you use over-the-counter medications regularly, you should schedule a visit to Dr. Khodadadian so he can examine you and determine the best course of treatment to resolve the issue once and for all.
Causes of GERD/Heartburn
Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when the muscle between your stomach and esophagus (the LES) weakens. There are many reasons for this, and most of them are lifestyle-related and include obesity, pregnancy, diabetes, cigarette smoking, asthma, alcohol abuse, and consuming certain foods and beverages:
- Carbonated beverages
- Citrus drinks, including juices
- Fatty foods
- Tomato-based products
Another possible cause is the presence of a hiatal hernia, which allows part of your stomach to move past your diaphragm into your chest. Not everyone with a hiatal hernia will experience GERD symptoms, but the hernia makes the disease more likely to occur.
If you’re experiencing the common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, heartburn and/or acid regurgitation, you may not need additional tests for Dr. Khodadadian to make an accurate diagnosis. If your symptoms do not respond to conservative treatment — or if you develop other symptoms, such as weight loss, trouble swallowing, or internal bleeding — Dr. Khodadadian may order additional testing.
X-ray testing serves no useful purpose for evaluating your symptoms of GERD. A more valuable test is an upper endoscopy. Dr. Khodadadian uses an endoscope, a small tube with a light at the end, to examine your esophagus and stomach, as well as the upper portion of your small intestine, called the duodenum. An upper endoscopy allows Dr. Khodadadian to visually detect any damage to your esophageal lining. If necessary, he can take a tissue biopsy for further testing.
Another test, known as pH testing, measures the amount of acid in your esophagus. Dr. Khodadadian can perform this test by either attaching a small sensor in your esophagus during an endoscopy or placing a thin, flexible probe into your esophagus. The test takes 24 hours to accurately measure the acid content. The probe or sensor transmits its information to a small device you wear on your belt.
Reflux symptoms sometimes disappear on their own if you reduce or eliminate certain dietary or lifestyle excesses. In addition to avoiding the foods and beverages listed above, you also can follow these tips:
- Avoid eating within three hours of bedtime
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prop up the head of your bed four to six inches
- Quit cigarette smoking
Should your symptoms persist, the Upper East Side gastroenterologist encourages you to make an office visit for an examination. Over-the-counter antacids only are effective for a short time. While they can calm your symptoms, they do nothing to heal your body and can lead to side effects if used over a prolonged period.
Over-the-counter medications decrease acid production in your stomach and are safe and suitable for treating mild cases. Other medications, called proton pump inhibitors, also are effective for treating your symptoms while helping your body heal. These medications block certain acid production in your stomach. They are safe and have few side effects if you take them for less than a year.
Surgery is considered a last resort, to be considered only if the more conservative treatments have not eased your symptoms. Dr. Khodadadian performs a comprehensive evaluation before surgery. If the NYC gastroenterologist recommends surgery, he performs an operation known as fundoplication, during which he repairs the hiatal hernia, if present, and wraps part of your stomach around the lower end of your esophagus to strengthen the barrier between your esophagus and stomach. For the surgery, Dr. Khodadadian typically uses a laparoscope instead of making a full incision on your stomach.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a GI doctor about your specific condition. Only trained, experienced gastroenterologists like Dr. Khodadadian can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
As a best in class NYC gastroenterologist, Dr. Shawn Khodadadian provides highly personalized and comprehensive care. His philosophy regarding the doctor/patient relationship is based on trust and has earned him one of the most respected reputations in NYC.
For more information about the GI conditions we treat including GERD / Hearburn or to schedule a consultation with the GI doctor, Dr. Shawn Khodadidan, please contact our Upper East Side NYC office.
Dr. Shawn Khodadadian
983 Park Ave, Ste 1D
New York, NY 10028