When To See Your Doctor

If you’re wondering how to know when it’s time to see your doctor, then the answer to that question is different for everyone. If you suffer from acid reflux (which is SEVERE heartburn accompanied by a wealth of additional problems), then you are one of 25 million Americans.

Acid reflux is commonly referred to as GERD (or gastroesophageal reflux disease). It is often mistaken as "heartburn" but it can be much more complicated than that.

First and foremost, it is important to listen to your body. You know it better than anyone. It is designed to tell you when something is out of balance so go with your instincts: they are almost always right.

If you live in the United States, where fast food and jam-packed schedules are becoming the rule rather than the exception, you’ve probably experienced acid reflux at least once in your lifetime. An occasional episode is nothing that should alarm you.

Conversely, the gravity of the situation for chronic acid reflux sufferers, lends itself to the need for immediate attention. It’s time to see your doctor for an evaluation if you can relate to one or more of the following:

  • Symptoms that occur more than two or three times each week.

  • Symptoms that wakes you up in the middle of the night.

  • Symptoms that interrupts normal, daily activities (exercise, work, etc.)

  • You feel full too soon during or after a meal.

  • Your symptoms have begun to occur more frequently over time.

  • You have experienced vomiting, nausea, belching, bloating or regurgitation in addition to, or along with, heartburn symptoms.

If, in fact, your doctor diagnoses you with acid reflux disease, there is a great deal that you can do to alleviate, or get rid of, your symptoms. Some of the solutions (like lifestyle changes and behavior modification techniques) are not easy to implement but they are important.

Making those changes are the quickest and most cost effective means by which you can get your symptoms under control, especially considering the rising costs of health care and prescription medications.

If gone untreated, acid reflux can cause serious and long-term complications. With that in mind, it is important that you implement the necessary changes right away.

When it comes time to see your doctor, he/she will work with you to chart an appropriate treatment plan that you can live with. It is important to make sure that your family is on board so they can act as the support network you’ll need as you incorporate changes that will make the difference.

If those initial changes are found wanting, or if your acid reflux symptoms persist, it may be time to see a gastroenterologist. This type of doctor is better trained to help you resolve your symptoms and treat any underlying causes.

Each time you see your doctor take the opportunity to clear up any questions or concerns you have about acid reflux, or your treatment. Try to become as well-informed as possible so that you can participate fully in your treatment.

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Diagnosing Acid Reflux

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