Barrett’s esophagus prevention starts with accurately diagnosing and treating acid reflux, also known as heartburn. Acid reflux is a common problem that’s not always simple to detect. In many instances, a patient may confuse reflux for another medical condition. The truth is, some acid reflux symptoms are less obvious than others. Further, when left untreated, heartburn can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precursor to cancer.
The board-certified gastroenterologists at the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence are experts in acid reflux and Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis and treatment in Los Angeles. If you want to know more about treatment options, such as RFA for Barrett’s esophagus, schedule an appointment by calling (888) 548-7614.
Common and Unusual Symptoms of Reflux
#1 Chest Pain
Chest pain can occur when stomach acid is entering the esophagus. Although it is a classic sign of acid reflux, it can last longer and be more intense than expected in patients suffering from Barrett’s esophagus. This chest pain may be mistaken for a heart attack. Nevertheless, if you experience chest pain, do not ignore it.
#2 Pain That Worsens at Rest
Acid is more likely to seep into your esophagus while you’re lying down or bending over, resulting in heartburn. The best advice for reflux sufferers is not to eat big meals right before bedtime. Following this tip may reduce the chance of pain and heartburn when lying down or sleeping.
#3 Pain After Mealtime
Have you ever experienced pain right after a meal – especially a big meal? Often, this discomfort implies that the stomach is overloaded, and the food has nowhere to go but up. Remember, it’s best to replace a big, fatty meal with a few smaller meals, and to avoid reclining after dinner.
#4 Bitter Taste
Sometimes the acid that escapes from your stomach can end up in the throat, causing a bitter taste in your mouth. If it occurs particularly at night or results in choking, it’s time to visit a doctor. Acid suppressing medication may be prescribed.
Cracking or hoarseness of your voice may be mistaken as a symptom of a cold, but is really a sign of heartburn. Acid can irritate your vocal chords as it seeps into the esophagus. When you hear a huskier tone in your voice, beware that it may be the onset of acid reflux.
Many respiratory symptoms can be a result of acid reflux due to acid finding its way to the lungs. If you experience coughing after eating, it is a good idea to call your doctor and request a pH test. The test is an outpatient procedure that measures the amount of acid in your esophagus over a 24-hour period and can help determine if you have acid reflux.
The coughing and wheezing associated with acid reflux can also trigger asthma. Experts think stomach acid can trigger nerves in the chest to constrict your breathing tubes in order to keep acid from entering. Once again, a simple pH test can help you get to the root of the problem.
If you feel nauseated and can’t figure out why, acid reflux could possibly be the culprit. If the nausea tends to come after eating a meal, then it may be indicative of acid reflux. If so, a regular antacid could reduce the discomfort.
#9 Increased Saliva
If your mouth starts producing increased saliva, it could be water brash, which is highly suggestive of acid reflux. As is the case with the nerves and reflexes that control vomiting, this could be your body’s way of telling you to wash out an irritant in your esophagus.
#10 Trouble Swallowing
Over time, the continuous cycle of damage and healing after acid reflux causes scarring. This can in turn cause swelling in the lower-esophagus tissue, resulting in a narrowing of the esophagus and difficulty swallowing. This is a concerning sign and you should make sure to see your gastroenterologist as soon as possible.
Get Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment in Los Angeles
If you think you may be suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, or if you’re experiencing troubling gastrointestinal symptoms like severe acid reflux or discomfort with swallowing food, you should see a gastroenterologist immediately to prevent more serious conditions including esophageal cancer. For more information, contact La Peer’s Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence by calling (888) 548-7614.