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Why Patients Should Not Self-Treat GERD

GERD | GI North | Cumming GASome people may experience nausea for a number of reasons including infection, pregnancy, food poisoning, and medication use. Nausea can vary from being slightly unpleasant and uncomfortable to something that seriously disrupts your everyday lifestyle.

Acid reflux is an irritating symptom and can be a primary cause of nausea. In some cases, the condition can get quite serious and lead to other health complications, which is precisely why patients should never try to self-treat GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), a chronic digestive disorder produced from frequent stomach acid back flow. These sometimes-serious symptoms should only be treated under the supervision of a doctor who can readily identify the key symptoms and therefore help you prevent developing acid reflux-related nausea.

Causes of Acid Reflux

At times, acid reflux can make an individual feel sick and nauseous. One reason reflux can occur is when the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), a muscle ring that divides your stomach and esophagus, fails to tightly close after ingesting fluids or food.

Any LES that doesn’t work correctly lets food particles and stomach acids flow backwards up into the esophagus and throat. In fact, the LES can break down due to a variety of reasons, even from the kind of food you eat. Here are some typical culprits that may induce acid reflux:

  • Spicy foods
  • Greasy, fried, or fatty foods
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee (including decaf)
  • Red sauces and tomatoes
  • Citrus juices and fruits
  • Peppermint
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Carbonated beverages

People who frequently deal with acid reflux generally experience a somewhat sour taste in their mouth due to the acid backing up from their stomach. The unpleasant taste, in addition to the coughing and burping, can produce nausea or even vomiting in some people.

Why Self-treating GERD is a Bad Idea

Self-treating something as serious as chronic acid reflux is never a good idea. If you’re popping antacids like there’s no tomorrow, that’s a serious problem. If you’re experiencing heartburn more than twice a week or have been taking various medications for heartburn longer than two weeks, it’s definitely time to visit your doctor.

Another main reason to see your doctor is because sometimes heart disease can be disguised as heartburn. Obviously, anything cardiac related requires medical attention. Also, even if it isn’t heart related, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications can ultimately be dangerous if taken for an extended period of time. Most doctors can effectively treat acid reflux symptoms and will typically recommend certain lifestyle changes as well.

When It’s Time to See Your Doctor

If you can’t successfully control your acid reflux and you’re experiencing nausea nearly everyday, it’s time to make a visit to your doctor. You may be in need of a different medication, a diet change, or undergo more medical testing to figure out why the problem is continuing.

If you need help with your digestive disorders, please contact GI North located in Cumming, GA. GI North serves patients from Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Suwanee, Dawsonville, Canton and beyond.

© 2014 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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