Don’t just mask acid reflux symptoms

Acid Reflux symptoms can be cured

Acid reflux symptoms

Many people suffer from acid reflux symptoms, a small amount of reflux in normal for most adults.  Our stomachs naturally produce acid to digest food. Sometimes this acid flows back into the esophagus, the tube connecting the throat to the stomach. This is called reflux. A symptom of reflux is often heartburn and many people temporarily mask this by taking over the counter medications. The stomach acid from reflux can permanently damage the esophagus. In fact after years of reflux, the tissue may be so damaged it leads to a condition known as Barrett Esophagus. This is where the cells in the lower section of the esophagus are abnormal. Most people who have Barrett Esophagus do not know they have it. Having Barrett esophagus increases the risk of cancer of the esophagus. Having this higher risk does not mean the person will get cancer of esophagus, but it does increase the risk factors.

The most common symptoms of esophageal cancer are heartburn, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, pain when swallowing, pain in the chest or neck, a hoarse voice or cough that doesn’t go away within 2 weeks, food getting stuck in the esophagus or food that may come back up. People who suffer from acid reflux should visit an ENT doctor who can perform an office procedure that requires no anesthesia and has no down time, Transnasal Esophagoscopy. Another test is a Restech Dx-ph test that is inserted into your esophagus for 24-48 hours to collect ph data and send to a recorder. During this time, you eat normal meals, go to work and perform your everyday activities. You can’t feel the tiny sensor and it does not interfere with your eating or swallowing. The measurements of this test will help your ENT doctor correlate your symptoms and any reflux you are having. Treatment may range from lifestyle changes for mild cases to more aggressive therapy with medication for moderate to severe cases. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended.

There are things you can do at home to help you start feeling better.

  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime
  • Eat small meals and eat slowly
  • Avoid spicy high fat acidic foods
  • Avoid or limit alcohol
  • Avoid tight clothes especially around the stomach/ waist area
  • Do not smoke.

To schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, please call 770-406-6587.

What is a Nasal Endoscopy?

What is that thing they put up my nose?

nasal endoscopy

“That thing” is called a nasal endoscope, the procedure titled “nasal endoscopy”. Just think of it as our eyes to see what’s going on past the most anterior part of your nose. When you come in, we always start with a basic exam of your ears, nose, and throat.  When we need more information, we use the endoscope.  The endoscope has a camera lens with a fiberoptic light attached that slides into your nose and sometimes, all the way down to your vocal cords (otherwise known as a laryngoscopy). On occasion, we’ll try to empirically treat you without our “eyes”. That can work but is essentially what you’re doing when you go to your Primary Care Provider. We want to expedite your healing and diagnose you as quickly and accurately as possible. Our endoscope is a tool in our toolbox to do that, and a nasal endoscopy is needed to make you healthy!

So if for example, the reason for your visit is sinus pressure or drainage, we need to have eyes into your nasal passage to evaluate causes of your symptoms: Is it infectious? Is it inflammatory? Could it be related to allergies? Is there anatomic obstruction, masses, polyps? Sometimes, you will come in with ear fullness and we’ll use the endoscope to visualize the back of the nose/top of your throat (nasopharynx) where the Eustachian tube orifice lies.  Many times this opening is blocked from drainage, obstruction, infection and causes your ears to pop, feel full, or even give way to ear infections. By using the endoscope, we can see directly to that site which helps us to narrow down the possibilities and remove the guesswork.

You may notice a “surgical procedure” documented on your bill- that is your insurance company documenting our tools as a procedure.  

To schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, please call 770-406-6587.

What is an ENT Doctor?

Can an ENT doctor help me?

ENT DOCTOR

Most people ask this question regularly, because a good portion of the population is not quite sure what an ENT doctor is or what one can do. That is perfectly fine! ENT stands for ear, nose and throat, and ENT doctors are also referred to as otolaryngologists. While this might seem like a scary word, it makes perfect sense if you break down the Latin.

Oto- Ear
Rhino- Nose
Laryngo- Throat
logy- The study of

(See! That wasn’t so bad.)

We will take the time to explore the more common reasons patients go see an ENT specialist, and we will also look into more obscure territories.

  • The Ear: You would see an ENT doctor if you have hearing loss, hearing impairments (such as tinnitus), ear infections, and also hearing issues since birth. ENT doctors also remove excess earwax build-up, which is a dirty job but someone has got to do it.
  • The Nose: The most common nose-related issues that ENT doctors are seen for are sinus related. Most people do not realize that ENT doctors are the sinus experts of the medical field, and they are most likely not getting the expert help they need from general practitioners. ENT doctors also perform cutting-edge procedures to cure sinus conditions; from sinus surgery to balloon sinuplasty, an ENT doctor can improve the lives of sinus sufferers. ENT practices also are known for treating allergy issues. The ENT Institute for instance has in-office allergy testing, and also has many options for allergy treatments that can be picked up right at the office.
  • The Throat: Disorders that affect speech, singing, eating, swallowing, and digestion can also be investigated by an ENT doctor. While it might not be common knowledge, many famous singers have an ENT doctor on speed-dial to help them with their vocal issues when they arise. A more common reason for visiting an ENT doctor is when you are suffering from acid reflux or GERD.
  • Some conditions of the head and neck: ENT doctors can also take care of diseases, tumors, and trauma of the head, neck, and face. Some ENT doctors are even trained to perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery in these areas.

We hope this helps clear up what an ENT doctor actually does, and also shows that ENT doctors do not get the credit they deserve. Hopefully, next time you have to make a medical decision, you will know when seeing an ENT doctor is the right call.
Schedule an appointment at The ENT Institute

Preventing Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and GERD

Acid Reflux Is A Real Pain

… no pun intended, and many people know the very real discomfort associated with heartburn. There are a few terms associated with heartburn that people like to use interchangeably (Acid Reflux & GERD), but we are on a mission to change this. Let’s take a look at those terms and definitions real fast before we continue.

Heartburn: The symptom of acid reflux. It is caused by acid splashing up into the esophagus from the stomach.

Acid Reflux: The act of acid splashing up from the stomach that causes the symptom of heartburn.

GERD: Gerd (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a severe and chronic reflux on steroids. This disorder can lead to some very scary complications… cancer being one of them.

Acid Reflux and GERD

Now that we have the terminology out of the way, we can explore some ways of preventing GERD and Acid Reflux (thus preventing heartburn).

1. Lose weight: Extra stomach fat causes pressure that pushes acids up to your esophagus. If you are suffering from chronic acid reflux and are overweight, then this might fix the disorder entirely.

2. Avoid problem foods: Some foods should be avoided if you are at risk for GERD. Fatty food, spicy foods, and caffeine are three of the most common things to avoid to help prevent further problems.

3. Quit smoking and cut back on drinking: This may seem like a default for every health-related countdown, but there is actually some science behind it. Nicotine can mess with your saliva’s ability to cleanse acid from the esophagus. Alcohol can cause muscle spasm that assist in promoting GERD.

4. Eating correct foods: Some foods provide qualities that help with reflux symptoms. Foods like oatmeal and ginger have qualities that help prevent reflux, whereas Bananas, various melons, and salads are encouraged in a diet because they are not common triggers of GERD.

5. Standing: Well this is a strange tip isn’t it? Have you ever heard to not eat right before you go to bed? Lying down after eating does not allow for gravity to help drain food and stomach acids where it needs to go… your stomach. Just remember that gravity can be your friend in fighting heartburn.

If you believe you are suffering from GERD, then you need to see your local ENT for solutions. Contact Us today for a solution to your Acid reflux and GERD problems.