Chicago Reflux and Heartburn Center
Over 50 years of combined experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Heartburn or Acid Reflux
At least 20% of adults in this country suffer symptoms of acid reflux weekly, according to the National Institute of Health. Whether you call it chronic heartburn, acid reflux or GERD, gastrointestinal reflux can cause serious damage if not treated. At the Chicago Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center of GI Solutions, we are dedicated to the treatment of heartburn, acid reflux and GERD. For those people in Chicago looking for a long-term solution for their chronic heartburn, GI Solutions performs minimally invasive surgical procedures to correct the underlying cause of GERD. We offer the most advanced and state of the art endoscopic procedures for acid reflux treatment and are one of the first centers in the Chicago area to be trained and providing the most recent treatment options.
What Is GERD And How Does It Relate To Acid Reflux?
GERD, or gastro-esophageal reflux disease, occurs when stomach acid repeatedly backs up, or refluxes, into the esophagus. GERD is also known as acid reflux disease. Heartburn is a burning sensation below the breastbone area. Heartburn is a common symptom of GERD. About 60% of adults in this country experience acid reflux from time to time, with about 20% experiencing symptoms regularly. Acid reflux disease is usually not serious. However, left untreated, in some cases, it can lead to inflammation, irritation and ulceration and stricturing of the esophagus lining. Chronic untreated acid reflux can lead to Barrett’s esophagus (changes to the esophagus lining that can be a precursor to esophageal cancer).
What are the symptoms of heartburn?
A common symptom of heartburn is acid in the stomach that refluxes into the esophagus and causes pain. Symptoms of heartburn tend to be more prevalent after large meals and this pain can worsen when lying down or bending over. Many people in Chicago can mistake the burning sensation behind the sternum or breastbone as a symptom of a heart attack.
When you should seek medical care:
- Heartburn occurring on a weekly basis
- Symptoms continue while taking over-the-counter medications
- Chest pain is experienced while laying down
- Experiencing acid fluid in the back of the throat that causes a burning sensation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss due to poor appetite or difficulty swallowing
What are the treatment options for Acid Reflux and Heartburn?
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 that cause heartburn, you also can follow some of these tips:
- Avoid eating within three hours of bedtime
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Propping up the head of your bed four to six inches
- Quitting cigarette smoking
- Should your symptoms persist, our team of gastroenterologists near Chicago encourage 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. However, any longer term treatment should be overseen by our team.
While occasional heartburn may be treated with over-the-counter antacids, if heartburn is chronic, the medications can then wind up masking symptoms that could indicate a more serious underlying condition. If you have chronic heartburn, it’s important to have an exam and evaluation done by our team in Chicago. In most cases, a simple outpatient procedure called an upper endoscopy done in our Center can determine the extent of damage that’s occurred so treatment can be customized to your needs.
If the more conservative treatments have not eased your symptoms, surgery should be considered as a last resort. The team at GI Solutions performs a comprehensive evaluation before referring you for acid reflux surgery. If your Chicago gastroenterologist recommends surgery, an operation known as fundoplication is an option, during which a surgeon 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.
Acid Reflux and Heartburn Specialists near Chicago IL
We pride ourselves on comprehensive and compassionate treatment to all patients suffering from reflux disease and heartburn. Our goal is to provide excellence in treatment in an advanced and highly specialized treatment center to exceed patient expectations and outcomes.