There are more than 60 million people in the United States that experience heartburn from acid reflux at least once a month, and 15 million of them have heartburn every day. At East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy in Patchogue, New York, Christopher Tomaino, MD, offers solutions to relieve acute and chronic heartburn and prevent damage to your esophagus. Whether you need prescription medications or are a candidate for surgery, you can find the help you need by calling East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy. You can also book a diagnostic evaluation online today.


What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when acids from your stomach flow back up into your esophagus and mouth. This condition develops when your esophageal sphincter weakens. This muscle opens to allow food to pass and closes to prevent acid backflow.

When the contents of your stomach move up into your esophagus, you might feel a painful, burning sensation in your chest (heartburn) or a bitter taste in your mouth.

Other common symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulties swallowing

When this acid backflow happens three or more times a week, the condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What are the risk factors for acid reflux?

While anyone can experience acid reflux, especially after eating spicy or acidic foods, your risk for developing chronic reflux or GERD increases due to:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of certain medications
  • Eating large meals and fried or fatty foods

When over-the-counter acid-reducers aren’t enough to control your acid reflux, you should schedule a diagnostic evaluation at East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy. Without treatment, GERD can lead to complications like a narrowing of your esophagus, esophageal ulcers, and precancerous changes in your esophageal lining (Barrett’s esophagus).

How is acid reflux diagnosed?

Typically, Dr. Tomaino can diagnose acid reflux and GERD by reviewing your symptoms and your eating habits. To determine if stomach acids are damaging your upper digestive system, he might also perform an upper endoscopy.

During an upper endoscopy, Dr. Tomaino inserts a thin, flexible tube into your mouth and throat. The lighted tube has an attached camera that sends real-time images of your upper digestive system to an external monitor. Dr. Tomaino watches the monitor during the procedure to identify issues like inflammation and tissue damage.

As part of your endoscopy, Dr. Tomaino might take samples of tissue in your esophagus to test for Barrett’s esophagus.

How is acid reflux treated?

If over-the-counter acid-reducers aren’t working well to control your acid reflux, Dr. Tomaino can prescribe stronger medications to neutralize stomach acids.

When you have GERD and medications aren’t enough to control your symptoms, you might be a candidate for surgery. During fundoplication surgery, Dr. Tomaino uses minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to tighten the esophageal sphincter muscle by wrapping the top part of your stomach around it.

You don’t have to live with persistent heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux. Call East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, or book an appointment online today.

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