HOUSTON – Overeating during the holidays is almost expected, but should we be ignoring the holiday heartburn that goes along with too much stuffing?
Almost everyone gets heartburn once in a while, and it’s especially common around the holidays since overeating rich foods and drinking alcohol can all trigger the condition. However, those with frequent symptoms should get checked to prevent more serious problems.
Dr. Felix Spiegel is a Bariatric Surgeon at Memorial Hermann’s Memorial City Medical Center so he knows a thing or two about our bellies. Houston Life’s Melanie Camp caught up with Dr. Spiegel to better understand when those digestive issues might be a sign of something more serious.
Watch more in the video above.
Memorial Hermann shares what you need to know about heartburn, reflux, and GERD below...
What causes heartburn? Heartburn is a burning pain in your chest, just behind your breastbone. The pain is often worse after eating, in the evening, or when lying down or bending over. Heartburn happens because stomach acid becomes backed up in the esophagus, which moves food from your mouth to your stomach. Occasional heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. Most people can manage the discomfort of heartburn on their own with lifestyle changes and nonprescription medications. Heartburn that is more frequent or interferes with your daily routine may be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical care.
What’s the difference between heartburn, reflux, GERD? Heartburn is the most common symptom of a disease called GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. GERD is characterized by frequent, ongoing heartburn. It’s a serious condition which can interfere with your quality of life. For many, symptoms are mild and relief can be found. For some, GERD is a daily, severe problem with lifelong implications. Acid Reflux is closely related to GERD, but the terms aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus — the tube that connects the throat and stomach. Acid reflux is more specifically known as gastroesophageal reflux.
What are symptoms of GERD? Epigastric pain, which is upper abdominal pain and Dysphagia, which is difficulty swallowing or a sensation that food is hanging up or not passing down into the stomach properly. You may have a regurgitation of food or liquids, particularly when bending over or laying down, associated with a bitter taste in the mouth Less common symptoms of GERD include; chest pain, hoarseness, a cough, even pneumonia
When should you see a physician? If your symptoms don’t get better with over-the-counter medication, if you take it more than twice a week, or if your symptoms come on with exertion or exercise, you should see your healthcare provider.
What treatments are available? At Memorial Hermann, we take a comprehensive approach to treating GERD since many don’t find relief through standard treatments. Our treatment options are customized to each individual, and may include; lifestyle changes like bed blocks, nutritional counseling, and weight loss. Medications, like antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Surgical Treatments such as the LINX Reflux Management System.
Overeating during the holidays is almost expected, but should we be ignoring the holiday heartburn that goes along with too much stuffing? Dr. Felix Spiegel is a Bariatric Surgeon at Memorial Hermann’s Memorial City Medical Center so he knows a thing or two about our bellies. Houston Life’s Melanie Camp caught up with Dr. Spiegel to better understand when those digestive issues might be a sign of something more serious. Watch the video above and for more information head to this website -> Memorialhermann.org/gerd or call 713-222-CARE (2273).