GERD Specialist in Merced, CA
If you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, our top gastroesophageal reflux disease doctor can help. Dr. Alfred B Johnson MD offers a variety of gastroenterology services in Merced, CA. For more information, call us or schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located at 240 East 13th Street Merced, CA 95341.
Table of Contents:
Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD, is when stomach acid and other stomach contents leak from the stomach into the esophagus. Lined with a mucous membrane for protection and to assist in the transportation of food, the esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Acid from the stomach can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and other symptoms. Although many people experience occasional heartburn, people with GERD experience these symptoms on a regular basis.
Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:
• A burning sensation in the chest (heartburn)
• Chest pain
• Difficulty swallowing
• Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
• Sensation of a lump in the throat
People who are dealing with nighttime acid reflux might also experience the following symptoms:
• Chronic cough
• New or worsening asthma
• Disrupted sleep
Heartburn is a painful symptom of indigestion characterized by chest pain, which is often caused by acid regurgitation into the esophagus. Heartburn is a common symptom of GERD, a chronic condition that needs to be treated right away. To tell the difference between heartburn or GERD, it is important to look out for certain signs and symptoms, including:
• Heartburn That Will Not Go Away — Because heartburn is a symptom on its own, it can be easy to dismiss as such and ignore its connection to GERD.
• Bitter Taste — GERD can pump food and bile from the stomach up the throat, causing a bitter taste. It is often accompanied by a burning sensation in the esophagus, which may increase saliva production in the mouth.
• Trouble Swallowing — Also known as dysphagia, trouble swallowing is commonly associated with GERD and could lead to unhealthy weight loss if it causes problems eating.
• Heart Attack Feeling — People who experience GERD often attribute the symptoms to a heart attack, as the chest pain and burning sensation can be hard to differentiate between the two conditions. GERD symptoms are commonly mistaken for cardiac symptoms; the reverse is also true: sometimes cardiac pain can be mistaken for GERD.
• Coughing — Because coughing is a common symptom of many diseases and conditions, it can be difficult to connect it to GERD. Chronic coughing, especially when not caused by a viral or bacterial infection, is a prevalent GERD symptom because the stomach acid eats away at the esophageal lining, causing irritation.
GERD is not considered a life-threatening condition, although if it is left untreated, it can develop into serious complications, including esophageal cancer. GERD that has persisted for longer than a few weeks should receive professional medical attention as soon as possible in order to prevent the chances of complications from arising.
Sometimes it is difficult to know when GERD symptoms are severe enough to warrant an appointment with a gastroenterologist, but knowing when to see a specialist can greatly improve the chances of a full recovery. Signs and symptoms that indicate it is time to see a gastroenterologist include the following:
• Symptoms that persist for over two weeks
• Heartburn that persists after taking OTC medications
• Heartburn episodes that change in frequency/intensity
• Nighttime symptoms that affect sleep quality
• Acid reflux that interferes with daily activities
• Symptoms that negatively impact the quality of life
• Decreased appetite
• Pain or difficulty swallowing
• Heartburn accompanied by nausea or vomiting
• Unexplained weight loss
• Chronic hoarseness or wheezing
Alfred B Johnson MD is dedicated to providing you with all of your GERD-related needs. Call us or schedule an appointment with our GERD specialist, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 240 East 13th Street Merced, CA 95341. We look forward to serving you! We serve patients from Merced CA, Atwater CA, Winton CA, Bear Creek CA, Planada CA, Le Grand CA, and Athlone CA.