Acid Reflux

Shahla Rah, MD, FACG

Gastroenterologist located in Newport Beach, CA & Irvine, CA

It’s not unusual to develop an uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest after eating a large spicy meal feeling these symptoms regularly may indicate an underlying abdominal issue. Board-certified gastroenterologist, Shahla Rah, MD, FACG, specializes in the treatment of acid reflux, heartburn, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at her Newport Beach, California, office. For management of your abdominal discomfort, call the office closest to you or use the online booking tool.

Acid Reflux

How are acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD different?

Acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD are interrelated. However, acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and GERD are diseases, while heartburn is a symptom of both. 

Acid reflux occurs when the contents of your stomach regurgitate up into your esophagus, causing a burning sensation (heartburn). If you experience acid reflux more than twice a week than you have GERD.

Normally, after you swallow food and it enters your stomach the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), closes tightly to keep the contents of your stomach in your stomach. If your LES isn’t able to close all the way or it opens frequently, the acidic contents of your stomach are able to regurgitate up into your esophagus, resulting in acid reflux.

What causes GERD?

GERD can develop from many causes. One of the most common is a hiatal hernia, which occurs when the upper part of your stomach and LES move above your diaphragm. 

Obesity, delayed stomach emptying, pregnancy, and connective tissue disorders such as scleroderma may also lead to GERD. 

What are the symptoms of GERD?

Your GERD symptoms can vary in type and severity. With active GERD you may experience:

  • Pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Burping or belching
  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis

You may notice that your symptoms are worse at night. 

What are the treatments for acid reflux and GERD?

Dr. Rah develops a personalized treatment plan to help you manage your acid reflux or GERD. Treatment is similar for both. She may initially recommend lifestyle modifications to ease your symptoms, such as:

  • Avoiding the foods that cause your symptoms
  • Eating smaller meals
  • Eating your last meal or snack at least two to three hours before bed
  • Wear loose fitting clothing
  • Weight loss
  • Over-the-counter antacid medication

Dr. Rah may also recommend medications that decrease acid production in your stomach or increase the movement of food through your stomach. 

If your symptoms don’t improve after conservative treatment, Dr. Rah may suggest a fundoplication, which is a surgical procedure that sews a portion of your stomach around your esophagus to increase pressure around your LES to prevent acid reflux. She may also suggest surgical repair of your hiatal hernia if that’s the underlying cause of your acid reflux or GERD.

For relief from your heartburn from a physician who cares about you and your health, call the office of Shahla Rah, MD, FACG, that’s nearest to you or use the online booking button to request an appointment.