If you have a gastrointestinal (GI) illness such as GERD, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or liver disease, a gastroenterologist can help you manage your condition. Because it is not uncommon for a GI condition to affect your respiratory health, such as when acid reflux causes asthma, you will want to discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor. This will help determine the underlying cause of your condition as well as the most appropriate treatment.
Lifestyle changes play a significant role in the management of GI disease. To start, maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet that is high in fiber. Avoid foods that you are sensitive to. Common food irritants include citrus, coffee and tea, carbonated beverages, strong spices and fatty foods. Make note of your eating habits and make adjustments based off your observations to reach an eating routine that minimizes your symptoms. You will also want to find ways to reduce stress in your life since GI conditions are often magnified by stress.
Medications may help your condition. Keep regular appointments with your doctor and discuss any changes in symptoms so you can reach a lifestyle program that is right for you.
Tips to Help Prevent Acid Reflux
Many people with chronic lung disease also suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). In this condition, the muscle between the esophagus and stomach is weak and stomach contents and acid back up into the esophagus. This may or may not cause symptoms. Many people can experience heartburn, pain, sore throat, swallowing problems, chronic cough, choking sensation and aspiration. Excess weight and dietary habits can contribute to reflux.
Gastroenterology Care at National Jewish Health
At National Jewish Health, you’ll find:
- The latest clinical trials
- Comprehensive care for the entire range of gastrointestinal diseases
- Early cancer detection through a colon cancer screening program
- Nutrition advice from expert dietitians
- Specialized nurses who work one-on-one with you and your family.