News | St. Thomas Medical Group

6 Ways to Get Rid of Acid Reflux

Heartburn can be extremely uncomfortable. Worse, chronic heartburn could even put you at risk of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer. If you suffer from heartburn, the gastroenterologists at St. Thomas Medical Group are here for you. Learn more about acid reflux management techniques below…

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close properly after you swallow food or liquid. When the LES relaxes abnormally or becomes weak, stomach acid can move up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest. Chronic acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Symptoms of acid reflux and GERD include:

  • Burning sensation in the chest (sometimes accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth)
  • Chest pain
  • Lumpy feeling in the throat
  • Regurgitation
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing

Learn more about acid reflux and GERD.

Techniques for Managing Acid Reflux

There are several things you can do to reduce acid reflux symptoms. Following these guidelines may even help eliminate symptoms entirely. Talk to your Nashville gastrointestinal specialist at St. Thomas Medical Group to learn more about the lifestyle changes that may be most appropriate for managing your acid reflux.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. One study found that women who gained 10-20 pounds had a 3x increase in heartburn symptoms. Losing even just a few pounds (if overweight) may help reduce your symptoms.
  2. Avoid food/drink triggers. Fatty and fried foods, garlic, onion, mint, tomato sauce, alcohol and caffeine can trigger acid reflux.
  3. Eat smaller portions. Large meals fill the stomach, causing more pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter.
  4. Don’t lie down after eating. Eat dinner earlier or purchase a wedge-shaped pillow to prop yourself up if you must lie down after eating.
  5. Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to acid reflux symptoms. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group about quitting.
  6. Monitor symptoms with a journal. Keep a journal that records what you eat and drink, as well as when you experience heartburn symptoms. By keeping records, you and your physician may be able to identify avoidable triggers.

Upper Endoscopy for GERD Treatment

In some cases, your gastroenterologist may recommend an upper endoscopy for diagnosing and treating GERD. During this procedure, frequently performed at our Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center, a small flexible endoscope is inserted through the mouth to explore and gather images of the upper digestive tract. Patients are sedated during this procedure, which can take five to twenty minutes to complete.

Learn more about upper endoscopy, pricing, and outcomes.

See a Gastrointestinal Specialist In Nashville

Meet our gastroenterologists at St. Thomas Medical Group. For scheduling information, please call +1 (615) 297-2700. You can also request an appointment online.

Get Moving, Nashville! 4 Hikes You Need to Take this Fall

Fall weather is on its way! As the leaves begin to change and the summer heat rolls off the Cumberland Plateau, now is the best time of the year to strike out in search of local trailheads! Whether you’re a native or a newcomer, make sure you check off these four parks before the leaves drop…

Did you know? The American Heart Association recommends “at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.” That’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

#1 Radnor Lake State Park (SOUTH)

Serene, quiet, an oasis in the city. You’re guaranteed to find Radnor Lake’s East and West parking lots at max capacity on a nice weekend day, any time of the year! The best time to visit this 1,368-acre park and its 6+ miles of trails is just before sunrise. Take your dog and enjoy a brisk run around the lake. Or, get your muscles burning with an ascent of Ganier Ridge Trail (where pets and running/jogging is strictly forbidden). Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Nashville, you’ll feel like you’ve driven hours away as soon as you take the first step onto one of Radnor’s rugged ridge trails. Get info.

#2 Percy & Edwin Warner Parks (WEST)

Just a 16-minute drive southwest of St. Thomas Medical Group, you’ll find Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, which offer a diverse network of hiking trails, green spaces, mountain bike trails, horse trails, and cross country running courses. From marathon trainees to evening amblers, the Warner Parks attract all types. Grab a map and allow yourself to wander freely, discovering the many creeks and overlooks these parks have to offer. Get info.

#3 Shelby Bottoms Greenway (EAST)

With five miles of paved trails, beautiful wetlands, sweeping river views, and some less-trafficked primitive trails, there’s a lot to love about Shelby Bottoms. If hiking isn’t up your alley, take to Shelby Bottoms Greenway with a bike. Much of the greenway is level, paralleling the Cumberland river, which makes for an easy and pleasant ride in the fall weather. Get info.

#4 Beaman Park (NORTH)

While Shelby Bottoms Greenway is busy, developed, and largely flat, Beaman Park offers a rugged alternative on the northwest side of town. Take the Ridge Top Trail for incredible views and some steep climbs. Marvel at the changing leaves and take in the views as you hike this Nashville gem! Get info.

Find a Partner In Your Health: Nashville Doctors Near You

At St. Thomas Medical Group, primary care physicians partner with patients from all areas of Nashville with a common goal: better health. Hiking and other forms of moderate and vigorous cardiovascular exercise can become a part of your routine health habits. To learn more about how you can better care for your heart – and yourself! – schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group. You can schedule online or by calling +1 (615) 297-2700.

World Alzheimer’s Month: 10 Signs Every Adult Should Know

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia, “a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion.”

Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia account for nine out of ten cases of dementia. Symptoms may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Personality and mood changes
  • Difficulty in performing daily, routine tasks
  • Difficulty in using words or comprehending others

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, we may be able to improve outcomes by making earlier diagnosis and providing patients and their families with better support and information.

Recognize Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

This September, in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month, internal medicine doctors at St. Thomas Medical Group are encouraging Nashvillians to learn the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s (via Alzheimer’s Association).

  1. Memory loss disrupting daily life. It’s not uncommon to forget names or appointments as you age, but routinely forgetting information or asking for the same information on a repeat basis could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
  2. Difficulty in planning or problem-solving. Occasional errors are normal at any age, of course. But individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may exhibit greater difficulty concentrating on problems. Working through challenges could take longer than in the past.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Driving, budgeting, or remember rules to a game could be challenging for individuals with Alzheimer’s.
  4. Time/place confusion. Not understanding where you are or how you got there could be a sign of dementia.
  5. Difficulty judging distance or color/contrast. Difficulty judging spatial relationships can make tasks like driving risky and difficult.
  6. Losing words (speaking or writing). Stopping mid-sentence or using odd word choice can be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
  7. Misplacing items. It’s not uncommon for individuals with Alzheimer’s to place items in unusual spots. In some cases, this can lead to the individual accusing others of stealing.
  8. Poor judgement. Affected individuals may lose their ability to exercise good judgement or make sound decisions.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social life. From time to time, we all need a break from the demands of work, family, and friends. But for individuals with Alzheimer’s, the step back may be more pronounced and longer lasting.
  10. Mood and personality changes. Many patients with Alzheimer’s may exhibit confusion, suspicion, depression or other new behaviors.

Find an Internal Medicine Doctor in Nashville

For more information about Alzheimer’s diagnosis and care, contact St. Thomas Medical Group. Call +1 (615) 297-2700.