Here's Why You Shouldn't Ignore Heartburn

 Here's Why You Shouldn't Ignore Heartburn

Occasional heartburn isn’t cause for concern, but if you’re among over one-third of US adults experiencing this symptom of acid reflux every week, it’s time to seek medical help. This is because chronic heartburn could signal a serious underlying condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Triple board-certified gastroenterologist John M. Rivas, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating heartburn and GERD at the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida. If you’re having a hard time managing heartburn on your own, keep reading to learn why you shouldn’t ignore it any longer and how Dr. Rivas can help.   

What is heartburn?

You experience the burning discomfort of heartburn because of acid reflux. This happens when your stomach acid goes back into your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth and stomach. 

Almost everyone experiences acid reflux at some point. This can happen occasionally for many reasons, from eating too much food, which could put pressure on the sphincter that keeps the opening to your esophagus closed, or from eating foods that are spicy or high in acid. 

When this happens once in a while, chances are over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn medicine is enough to manage your symptoms. But if you experience acid reflux more often, it could be cause for concern. 

Why should I see a medical provider about heartburn?

If you get heartburn frequently—at least two times per week—you could have GERD, which develops when stomach acid runs back into your esophagus frequently. 

The delicate tissues of your esophagus weren’t designed to handle harsh stomach acids. As a result, you experience frequent and often severe heartburn. 

Over time, you may also experience other symptoms, such as feeling like you have something in your throat, issues with swallowing, stomach discomfort, a metallic or acidic taste in your mouth, a morning cough, and chronic bad breath. 

It’s important to see a medical provider if you experience frequent heartburn or any other symptoms of this condition because untreated GERD can lead to serious health complications, including:

You can also develop asthma-like symptoms, serious dental problems, and even tooth loss. 

Are there treatments for chronic heartburn?

Yes! Your GERD treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis, however, as some other GI conditions may cause similar symptoms. 

Once Dr. Rivas has an accurate diagnosis, he creates a personalized GERD treatment plan to meet your needs. GERD treatments vary based on your symptoms, medical history, and other factors but may include:

For help with recurring heartburn, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Myths and Facts About Celiac Disease

Even if you don’t have it, chances are you’ve read or heard something about celiac disease. But while awareness of this condition has increased in recent years, so have the myths and misconceptions surrounding it. Keep reading to get the facts.

5 Common Signs of GERD

Having heartburn once in a while probably isn’t cause for concern. But getting acid reflux two or more times a week may mean you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Here’s a look at the common signs of this condition.

IBS vs. Fibroids: Understanding the Difference

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and fibroids both can cause abdominal discomfort and problems in your digestive system. While they share some symptoms, these conditions need different treatment. Keep reading to learn what you need to know.

4 Ways to Manage Diverticulitis

If you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulitis, you know the pain, discomfort, and other unpleasant symptoms this condition can cause. The good news is you can take steps to keep diverticulitis under control. Here’s what you need to know.

Does a Plant-Based Diet Prevent Colon Cancer?

If you’re worried about colon cancer, you might be curious if a plant-based diet can help reduce your risk. Take a moment to learn what you need to know about diet, colon cancer, and other steps to take to prevent this common disease.