Heartburn Symptoms Diagnosed by Expert Doctors at Mercy in Baltimore
Heartburn symptoms are experienced by many people; however, when heartburn relief cannot be achieved with over-the-counter medicine or diet changes, it is important to seek medical expertise. At Mercy in Baltimore, gastroenterologists and minimally invasive surgeons offer diagnosis and treatment for heartburn symptoms, which often can cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), achalasia, eosinophilic esophagitis, or Barrett’s Esophagus.
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid that irritates the esophagus. A muscular valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter, keeps stomach acid in the stomach. Normally, it opens to allow food into the stomach then closes again. But if it opens too often or does not close tightly enough, stomach acid can seep, or reflux, into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation. Chronic heartburn can indicate serious problems and can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
Heartburn symptoms include burning in the chest after a meal or at night as well as pain when lying down or bending. If heartburn symptoms occur more than twice within a week and over-the-counter medications do not provide heartburn relief, it is important to see a doctor so that tests can be conducted to properly diagnose the reason for the heartburn symptoms.
Tests that may be conducted to diagnose heartburn symptoms include:
- Barium swallow test
- Endoscopy with biopsy
- Bravo wireless pH testing
For heartburn relief, over-the-counter medications can be taken. It also is suggested to avoid foods, such as alcohol, caffeine, tomato sauce, or fried food, that trigger heartburn symptoms. Other treatment options may be needed if the heartburn symptoms indicate other esophageal disorders such as GERD, achalasia, eosinophilic esophagitis, or Barrett’s esophagus.