Do you experience a burning sensation in your chest that tends to become worse when lying down or bending over? You could have heartburn, which is a common condition. Many people experience heartburn occasionally. However, if you experience persistent or severe heartburn, it’s a good idea to visit a community hospital for an evaluation. At the hospital, you’ll undergo diagnostic procedures and you’ll learn about your treatment options.
Causes and Triggers
When you consume foods and liquids, the muscle tissue at the bottom of your esophagus closes tightly to prevent the backflow of food and stomach acid. Heartburn occurs when the esophagus isn’t closed tightly enough to prevent this backflow. Stomach acid irritates the esophagus lining, causing discomfort. If left untreated, it can lead to serious damage. Some people experience heartburn when they consume certain foods or liquids. These trigger foods can include chocolate, alcohol, coffee, tomato sauce, and fried foods.
At the hospital, tell the physician about all of your symptoms and how often you experience them. The physician may recommend an endoscopic procedure, which involves the insertion of a thin tube down the esophagus. This allows the physician to examine the esophagus and stomach for signs of irritation. Before the procedure, the professionals at the hospital will give you a sedative to help you relax.
If the endoscopy procedure reveals that you do indeed have heartburn, your doctor is likely to recommend lifestyle changes. It’s best to avoid foods that trigger your symptoms and avoid lying down within three to four hours of eating. Try eating smaller meals and avoid wearing tight-fitting pants. Additionally, losing weight and quitting smoking, if applicable, can help control your symptoms. If lifestyle changes are not sufficient to relieve your heartburn, your doctor may prescribe medications.
The Endoscopy Center at Memorial Hospital of Tampa provides state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and treatment options to patients suffering a range of digestive ailments, including heartburn. Our physicians are committed to the safety and comfort of each patient. Families in the South Tampa area can learn more about endoscopic procedures by calling our community hospital at (813) 873-6400.