Ask Our Doctors: Burning Questions
The Doctors answer e-mail, Twitter and Facebook questions about your body's burning sensations.
Heartburn, or acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid moves up the esophagus rather than stays in the stomach where it digests food. E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork demonstrates what causes heartburn.
Mica, 42, has suffered from severe acid indigestion and heartburn for years, and despite taking prescription medications, cannot find relief. "It's to the point where I cannot drink water anymore without getting heartburn," she says. "It's caused me a lot of pain and discomfort, and it's just been a nightmare ... It feels like somebody is literally pouring battery acid down me."
Mica undergoes EsophyX, also known as Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF), a brand-new, noninvasive, FDA-approved procedure that eliminates the condition. EsophyX recreates the natural valve that prevents acid and bile from coming up from the stomach to the esophagus.
Mica and gastroenterologist Dr. Carson Liu, who performed the procedure, join The Doctors just three weeks after surgery, and Mica reveals she no longer experiences the burn. "I'm eating solid foods [with] no problem at all. It's wonderful," she says. "[Even] very hot, spicy Mexican food, wine, Italian. You name it, I love it!"
Dr. Liu explains how it is performed and says the EsophyX procedure is best for those who suffer from chronic heartburn and cannot find relief from over-the-counter or prescription medications.
If you are experiencing chronic heartburn, make sure to talk to your doctor.
Tips to Ease Heartburn Pain
• Modify your diet
• Lose weight
• Eliminate fatty, spicy and acidic foods
• Lay on your left side to decrease reflux
• Chewing gum may decrease acidity
• Avoid milk, because calcium can stimulate acid secretion
• Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages
Facial Cleanser Burns
When it comes to facial astringents and masks, how do you know if a stinging sensation is normal or potentially harmful?
"A lot of people assume that if it burns, it must be doing something," Dr. Ordon says. "Unless the peel is done by a professional, like myself or a dermatologist, painful burning is probably not a good thing."
Burns can be caused by applying a direct irritant, such as salicylic or glycolic acid, to the face. It can also be caused through allergic contact dermatitis, which occurs when an ingredient in a product causes an allergic reaction.
A tingly feeling caused by alcohol-based products, however, is often normal. "A lot of times, as women, we think, if it's not hurting, it's not doing anything," Dr. Lisa says. "That's absolutely not true. A lot of times, if you are feeling a real pain, it's actually doing damage instead of helpful things."
Make sure to read the ingredients of any product you apply to your face, and don't mix potentially harmful products.
"Stick to one active ingredient to get rid of your dead skin," Dr. Ordon says. "If you want to exfoliate, just use one. You probably don't want to mix salicylic acid and glycolic acid at the same time."
Tips to Treat Skin Irritation
• Dilute harsh products with water
• Apply hydrocortisone cream or lotion
• Apply aloe
• Apply olive oil
Allergist or ENT?
If you're having sinus problems, which doctor should you call: an ear, nose and throat specialist or an allergist? Allergist Dr. Warner Carr and plastic surgeon and ENT Dr. Drew Ordon explain the difference.