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 Gastroenterologists in our office, 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. Persistent GERD symptoms or new onset GERD symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptoms of a serious illness or condition. Persistent GERD symptom’s can lead to barrett’s esophagus which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.
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, symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain or pain radiating arm pain,. These can be the sign of a heart problem and you should seek immediate medical attention and call 911. More worrisome symptoms include difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss and blood in the stool, etc. Persistent GERD symptoms or new onset GERD symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptoms of a serious illness or condition. Persistent GERD symptom’s can lead to barrett’s esophagus which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.
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 our doctors 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 — Our doctors will likely need to perform an upper endoscopy for diagnosis and you may need additional workup.
X-ray testing serves no useful purpose for evaluating your symptoms of GERD. A more valuable test is an upper endoscopy. Our doctors 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 the doctors to visually detect any damage to your esophageal lining. If necessary, they can take a tissue biopsy for further testing.
Another test, known as pH testing, measures the amount of acid in your esophagus. Our doctors 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 Midtown or Upper East Side gastroenterologists encourages you to make an office visit for an examination.
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. Any longer term treatment should be overseen by your gastroenterologist.
Surgery is considered a last resort, to be considered only if the more conservative treatments have not eased your symptoms. Our doctors perform a comprehensive evaluation before referring you for surgery. If the NYC gastroenterologist recommends surgery, an operation known as fundoplication is an option, during which the surgeon he refers you to will repair 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.
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 our doctors can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
As best in class NYC gastroenterologists, our doctors provide highly personalized and comprehensive care. Their philosophies regarding the doctor/patient relationship is based on trust and has earned them some of the most respected reputations in NYC.
For more information about the GI conditions we treat including GERD / Heartburn or to schedule a consultation with one of our GI doctors, please contact our Midtown or Upper East Side NYC offices.