Heartburn

Doctor,
   What causes heartburn?

AdobeStock 132606471Reflux. Heartburn. GERD. There are many names to describe what is medically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD is partly a result of normal body conditions. When you eat and drink every day, your mouth pushes things into the back of your throat and down a tube known as the esophagus. The esophagus is the pathway that leads from your mouth down to your stomach. Your stomach, meanwhile, naturally secretes proteins and acids which help your body break down food and drink that you consume each day. Those proteins and acids are supposed to stay within the stomach.

In GERD, however, they leak outside the stomach and into the esophagus, sometimes traveling up to the back of the throat and inside the mouth. This is why many people can experience “heart burn” as your esophagus is irritated by the acid and protein that is not supposed to be inside it. This causes inflammation and irritation that can come across as a burning sensation. If it reaches your mouth, it may result in belching or a bitter and sour taste. Many commercials and advertisements frequently focus on these symptoms or have actors portray them.

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Tinnitus

Doctor,
   I’ve seen some ads for drops and pills claiming to reduce or stop ringing in the ears.  Do these work?

AdobeStock 106042822Have you ever heard a sound in your ear that does not appear to be coming from any particular source? Sounds such as chirping, ringing, buzzing, squeaking, crackling or a variety of others? This sound is referred to as “tinnitus,” which is the perception of a sound with no external source. More than 50 million people in the United States experience this sensation at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common medical conditions in the country.

This auditory perception is not a psychological condition; in fact, it is present in multiple medical conditions. Frequently, tinnitus is present when a patient is experiencing some type of hearing loss. However, there are multiple types of tinnitus and different categories of hearing loss. It is prudent for a trained medical professional to appropriately test and analyze results as well as perform a proper physical examination so that the correct therapy can be applied.

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