Man holding chest due to heartburn and acid reflux disease

Symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease

Do you suffer from heartburn? Do you regularly notice a burning feeling or tightness in your chest following eating?

You may suffer from acid reflux disease, which is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It’s a common problem in Utah and across the United States. In fact, more than 60 million Americans suffer from heartburn each month.

According to Dr. John Bennett, an ENT doctor in Salt Lake City, Utah, “The most common symptom of acid reflux is actually a vague sensation of fullness in the throat, from the swelling around the voice box that the refluxed acid can cause. Reflux is often perceived as post-nasal drip.”

We’ve listed 6 symptoms of acid reflux disease below. These symptoms can be short-lived or last for several hours or even days. The good news is that you can quickly relieve and eliminate acid reflux symptoms by eating over-the counter antacid tablets like Tums, Rolaids, and generic store brands. Prescription medicines like Pepcid, Tagament and Zantac can also provide relief.

Acid Reflux Symptoms

  • Heartburn. A burning feeling in your chest that typically appears soon after eating. This is called heartburn or acid indigestion. Though heartburn may feel painful, it does not damage or affect your heart.
  • Regurgitation. That burning feeling in your chest is often accompanied by a burning sensation in the throat and/or a sour, acidic taste in your mouth. In some cases, you may vomit a small amount of stomach acid.
  • Difficulty swallowing. You may feel difficulty swallowing as you eat. You may have the sense that food is “sticking” in your throat or even a feeling of choking.
  • Hoarseness. Your voice may become hoarse and, in some cases, you may even lose your voice while you are symptomatic.
  • Dyspepsia. Some people who have acid reflux disease also suffer from a syndrome called dyspepsia, which is another term for indigestion. Dyspepsia symptoms include burping, stomach fullness and bloating.
  • Wheezing and/or asthma-like symptoms. Many people who suffer from asthma also suffer from acid reflux or GERD. The wheezing and coughing happens when stomach acid is aspirated from the esophagus to the lungs.

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center to Treat Acid Reflux Disease

The Ear, Nose and Throat Center doctors regularly treat patients across Utah and the Wasatch Front who suffer from acid reflux disease, GERD, heartburn and indigestion. While acid reflux disease is a chronic condition, which means there is no cure, there are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to help manage your symptoms.

Click to learn how lifestyle changes and avoiding heartburn trigger foods can help you avoid reflux

Contact us today at 801-328-2522. And learn steps you can take to eliminate the symptoms of acid reflux disease from your life.

image of menue with heartburn, bloating, reflux

11 Foods That Trigger Heartburn and Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux disease or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a common problem in Utah and the United States. In fact, more than 60 million Americans suffer from heartburn and acid reflux monthly.

If you’re suffering, you’re not alone.

What is Acid Reflux Disease or GERD?

Reflux, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. At the base of the esophagus is a ring of muscle that contracts to prevent stomach acid from entering the esophagus. This muscle works well for most people. However, for people who suffer from acid reflux, the ring of muscle or the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly. As a result, acid enters the sensitive tissue within the esophagus and throat and creates a burning sensation. Most sufferers recognize this pain as heartburn.

In some cases, however, reflux can be silent. In other words, no symptoms appear until a problem arises.

“Only one-third of reflux sufferers have heartburn,” says Dr. John Bennett, an ENT doctor in Salt Lake City, Utah, “The other two-thirds have silent reflux, where throat fullness, throat clearing, coughing, and hoarseness are common.”

Learn about the symptoms of acid reflux disease

At the Ear, Nose and Throat Center, we see patients every day from Salt Lake City, Sandy and Draper, Utah who suffer from reflux, GERD or plain old heartburn. We’re here to help. But you can also help yourself avoid reflux and heartburn by becoming aware of foods that trigger or cause heartburn, reflux or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

Learn more about Gastroesphageal Reflux (GERD)

Foods That Trigger Reflux and Heartburn

Acid reflux is a chronic condition. That means there is no cure. Fortunately, reflux is fairly easy to manage through a mix of dietary changes and prescription medicines, if necessary.

“Modifying what you eat can be very helpful,” adds Dr. Bennett. “Watch out for spicy foods, but also acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus. Other culprits are greasy foods, milk-based foods, caffeine, chocolate, mint, as well as alcohol and tobacco.”

The following foods are known to trigger acid reflux:

  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes)
  • Coffee
  • Fatty and fried food (french fries, fried chicken)
  • Fast food
  • Peppermint
  • Pizza
  • Spicy foods (tacos, curry)
  • Tomato sauces and juice

Lifestyle and Diet Changes to Help Avoid Reflux

  • Limit or avoid reflux trigger foods. A dietary diary can help you discover the foods that trigger reflux. Every patient is different and we can help you pinpoint problem foods.
  • Eat earlier in the evening. Eating early allows your stomach more time to digest food before you sleep. We also recommend you eat nothing at least three hours before sleeping.
  • Eat smaller portions. Eating too much can lead to indigestion and reflux. Eat less and feel better.
  • Lose weight. Even losing 5 pounds can improve reflux symptoms.
  • Raise the top of your mattress 4 to 6 inches. A flat mattress can trigger reflux while sleeping, so a small change in sleeping position can make a big difference.
  • Eliminate tobacco use. Smoking is bad for you in many ways. Stopping can help you avoid reflux as well as reduce your risk for many types of cancer. The Ear, Nose and Throat Center can help you stop smoking.

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to set an appointment. Our ENT doctors in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah will work with you to diagnose and treat your acid reflux and heartburn symptoms and provide guidance on lifestyle and diet changes that can help you reduce the impact of acid reflux disease on your life.

balance testing for dizziness and vertigo

Helping People in Utah Overcome Dizziness, Vertigo and Balance Issues

Thousands of people in Utah suffer from dizziness, balance issues and vertigo every day. It’s frustrating, disorienting and that spinning feeling can last anywhere from days to weeks to months.

According to Dr. Craig Anderson, an ENT doctor who leads our sister company, Utah Hearing and Balance, there are many causes of dizziness.

“There are many causes of dizziness and vertigo, perhaps 25 or so, falling within 7 or 8 different categories,” says Dr. Anderson. “That’s why an expert is required. The reasons for dizziness are, for the most part, invisible to the naked eye on physical examination, so diagnosis requires a careful, detailed history, along with various tests of inner ear function. Hearing tests, balance tests and brain scans are often ordered, and sometimes involvement of a neurologist (to rule out neurologic conditions) or a physical therapist (to direct balance retraining exercises) is needed.”

You may have experienced vertigo symptoms when turning your head, standing up or even changing positions while lying down. You may feel your head is spinning or even that the room around you is spinning. What you may not know, however, is that dizziness, vertigo and balance issues are typically directly related to inner-ear issues.

Fortunately, while vertigo or dizziness is frustrating, it’s also typically harmless. In some cases, however, dizziness may be caused by Ménière’s disease, which is a disorder of the inner ear. Although the exact cause remains unknown, it likely results from abnormal fluid levels in the inner ear. Ménière’s disease is one of the most common causes of dizziness. Typically, only a single ear is involved, but both ears are affected in approximately 15 percent of patients. Men and women are impacted by Ménière’s disease equally with the disease typically starts between the ages of 20 and 50 years.

Learn more about Ménière’s disease

Utah Hearing and Balance logoAt Utah Hearing and Balance, we specialize in balance issues and treatment and can help you overcome these challenges once and for all. With offices in Salt Lake City, Draper, Park City and Tooele, Utah, we’re the local specialists to treat balance and dizziness disorders.

VISIT: Utah Hearing & Balance

Symptoms of Vertigo and Dizziness

How do you know if you suffer from vertigo? Here are the common symptoms of vertigo and dizziness:

  • A feeling of motion
  • A lack of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Abnormal eye movements

Initial Diagnosis and Assessment

There are many causes of vertigo, dizziness and/or loss of balance. Through comprehensive evaluation and testing, we make every effort to diagnose the problem and outline an appropriate treatment program to improve performance and resolve symptoms.

The first step in diagnosing and treating dizziness or balance disorders is a comprehensive balance assessment. This includes a medical evaluation and diagnostic testing. The balance assessment typically lasts one to two hours. During that time we’ll examine your inner ear and conduct a number of tests that help us understand your symptoms and accurately prescribe treatment. Rest assured that we will ensure your comfort during all tests and procedures.

  • Eye movement testing
  • Exercise-based treatments
  • All testing conducted by board-certified physician and licensed therapists

Watch Video about Dizziness

Treating Your Condition

We often use videonystagmography (VNG), which measures eye movements and their relation to dizziness, to diagnose balance issues. We also treat dizziness and balance problems with a customized physical therapy plan. Research demonstrates that physical therapy and exercises can lessen the severity of symptoms and improve function and sense of well-being in all ages. Utah Hearing & Balance diagnoses and treats:

  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues
  • Light headedness

Dr. Anderson notes that while many causes of dizziness only slowly fade, dizziness due to loose particles in the inner ear can typically be fixed quickly.

“A fascinating and common cause of vertigo is loose calcium crystals that get trapped in the inner workings of the balance organ,” notes Dr. Anderson. “The dizziness caused by this condition is provoked by quick changes of position, and may occur nightly with lying down in bed, rolling from one side to the other, or sitting up from bed. Sometimes just tipping the head back to look up is enough to bring on this sudden and brief form of vertigo.”

“A simple, effective, office maneuver to dislodge the crystals and shift them away from the delicate balance sensors of the inner ear seems to do the trick in most cases, allowing many to be relieved of their symptoms by the time they walk out of the office.”

Dr. Craig Anderson, Dizziness and Balance Specialist

Craig W Anderson MD specializes in dizziness and balance disorders

Dr. Craig W. Anderson is a board-certified ear,nose and throat doctor who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of dizziness and balance disorders. He joined the Ear, Nose & Throat Center in 2009 and has worked in private medical practice in Utah since 1981. When you meet with Dr. Anderson, he will perform a comprehensive exam, outline additional testing and ultimately recommend and explain different treatment options. Physical therapy may be recommended to help you overcome balance and dizziness issues.

Learn more about Dr. Craig W. Anderson

Contact Utah Hearing and Balance

If you suffer from dizziness or balance issues, contact Utah Hearing and Balance at 801-833-0579 to set an appointment. We’ll work together to diagnose and treat your symptoms and put you back on the road to good health.

woman breaking a cigarette

Ear, Nose and Throat Center Helps Utah Smokers Quit Smoking

Smoking is a bad idea. In fact, the use of use of tobacco in nearly every form is bad for your health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services feels so strongly about dissuading smokers from using tobacco that graphic and almost shocking new anti-tobacco warnings must be prominently displayed on tobacco products. The goal: encourage people to stop smoking or better yet, never start.

According to the American Lung Association in Utah, more than 11 percent of Utah adults smoke and nearly 1,200 Utah residents die from smoking each year. Sadly, many children are harmed through secondhand smoke. In fact, more than 3,000 non-smokers die from lung cancer each year due to exposure to secondhand smoke.

Noting the dire mortality rates and health risks associated with smoking, Dr. John Bennett, an ear, nose and throat doctor in Salt Lake City, states, “Of all the people who continue to use tobacco, one half will die from it. Quitting tobacco is the best thing you can do for your health.”

Tobacco use can lead to nicotine dependence and serious health problems, including head and neck cancer. Quitting today can significantly reduce the risk of suffering from smoking-related diseases and reduce the risk of cancer returning. Tobacco dependence and nicotine addiction is a chronic condition that often requires repeated interventions. Fortunately, effective treatments and helpful resources exist. Utah smokers can and do quit smoking. In fact, today there are more former smokers than current smokers.

Dr. Bennett adds that many smokers consider tobacco a “good friend” of theirs. “But that ‘good friend’ is trying to kill you. The sooner you say goodbye, the better.”

The Ear, Nose and Throat Center of Salt Lake City is ready to help.

7 Facts about Smoking

  1. Nicotine is a highly addictive psychoactive drug in tobacco products. In fact, research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine – illegal drugs.
  2. Most smokers are dependent on and addicted to nicotine. Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States.
  3. Quitting smoking is difficult and may require multiple attempts. Users often relapse because of stress, weight gain, and withdrawal symptoms.
  4. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite.
  5. The risk of developing lung cancer is 23 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes and nearly 13 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes compared to people who have never smoked.
  6. Cigarette smoking increases the risk for many types of cancer, including cancers of the lip, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, larynx (voice box), lung, uterine, cervix, urinary bladder, and kidney.
  7. Rates of cancers related to cigarette smoking vary widely among members of racial/ethnic groups but are highest among African-American men.

Many Paths and Treatments to Quit Smoking

It’s not easy to stop smoking. But it is possible and there are many effective treatments that can help you stop using tobacco today – and forever. For instance, many first-line nicotine replacement therapy products like nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are helpful in cutting back on the amount of tobacco use.

These products are proven to help many smokers wean themselves down to 5 or fewer cigarettes per day. But Utah smokers often have trouble when they try to quit completely. That’s because smoking is both physically and psychologically addictive. It’s not uncommon for people to associate smoking a cigarette with specific activities like drinking coffee, driving the car or having a drink with friends. They simply can’t imagine participating in such activities without smoking a cigarette.

Using Prescription Medications to Stop Smoking

At this point in the process, we often recommend prescription medications like Zyban and Chantix to help smokers completely overcome their addiction. Like all prescription drugs, side effects are possible. The most common are nausea, headache, difficulty sleeping and abnormal dreams. However, more serious side effects can appear and the Food and Drug Administration recommends that patients look for signs of suicidal thoughts, negative changes in behavior, erratic behavior and drowsiness. While these side effects are rare, they can occur. If they do appear, you should notify your health care provider immediately.

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center

The Ear, Nose and Throat Center has helped many of our patients stop smoking. We’re committed to helping you quit smoking, too. Working together, we can succeed. We recommend you read these success stories of Utah residents who quit smoking.

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to set up an appointment with a Utah ear, nose and throat doctor who can help you stop smoking.