Most Americans don't talk to their doctor about their heartburn and acid reflux. Yet, left untreated, these symptoms can progress and become worse, leading to irreversible damage. For this reason, it is essential that you communicate openly with your primary doctor about your gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms.
You should contact your doctor if GERD symptoms persist, get worse or change. You should also contact your doctor if you experience more concerning symptoms like chest pain, difficulty swallowing, pain when swallowing, black or bloody stools or weight loss.
Your doctor requires a whole picture of your health to properly diagnosis GERD. Provide your doctor with an honest and detailed medical history, including any past or present allergies, and any past or present illnesses.
You should always tell your doctor about anything that you ingest, especially when a gastrointestinal diagnosis needs to be made. Be frank and thorough and tell your doctor about any recreational drug use, alcohol use, over-the-counter medication, prescription medication, supplement use including vitamins and herbal remedy use.
There are several options your doctor may choose if you experience side effects related to GERD medication. Your doctor may suggest a different GERD medication altogether or a different medication schedule.
Typically, you will see your primary doctor or general practitioner before you see a specialist. After a thorough assessment, your primary doctor may suggest that you see a GERD specialists, also known as a gastroenterologist.
It is essential that you keep track of your medication use. Try purchasing all of your medication from one pharmacy that offers special services for medication tracking.
In a GERD diary you want to track a lot of information essential for your gastrointestinal intervention, including any lifestyle changes you make, GERD medication, side effects, potential GERD triggers, GERD symptoms and food ingested.
You can greatly benefit from seeing patterns between your GERD symptoms and eating habits or poor lifestyle choices. Seeing these patterns may be an eye-opener for you and motivate you to change. A GERD diary is also very helpful for your doctor in terms of appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Only one out of four people talk to their doctor about their GERD symptoms. This suggests that most people go about their daily lives with undiagnosed GERD.
Untreated GERD symptoms typically progress and get worse, eventually leading to permanent damage of the esophageal lining and other related problems, such as difficulty breathing.