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Heartburn: Determining The Cause

By HERWriter
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Dr. David Rakel knows that if you're having alot of heartburn, you need to look into what's causing it. He recommends that you go to a gastroenterologist for an acidic probe, which will evaluate pH balance. You might consider having an EGD as well. This can tell you whether or not the mucous layer of your stomach has been experiencing erosive changes. The results of these tests will determine whether other methods should be pursued.

(Transcribed from video interview)

Dr. Rakel:

Well, you could listen to your body. If you have a lot of recurring symptoms in epigastric area, heartburn, you know that’s a sign of some dysfunction there. It may not be only acid it could be spasm of that lower esophageal sphincter so it’s not ideal.

The best way is to go see the gastroenterologist and have an acidic probe placed which is a probe that goes down into the stomach and just towards the end of the stomach and the small bowel and measures the pH and that allows us an objective finding to see whether you have a lot of acid.

You can also get an EGD where you have a scope that goes down into the stomach and looks for erosive changes and if those show that you have erosive changes then that acidity obviously is going to be causing trouble because that mucous layer is deteriorating and we need to remedy that.

If it’s completely normal, the pH probe and the scope is completely normal, then a chronic acid suppression is probably not doing you any good and we need to look at other methods to try and find that resolution of symptoms.

About Dr. Rakel, M.D.:
Dr. David Rakel, M.D., attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completed a family practice residency in Greeley, Colorado. He spent the next five years in rural practice as one of two physicians staffing a 14 bed hospital in Driggs, Idaho. As medical director for Grand Targhee Ski resort in Wyoming, he developed an interest in sports medicine and received his Certificate of Added Qualification in 1999.

Dr. Rakel completed a two year fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona from 1999-2001.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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