When Should You See A Doctor About Your Heartburn

We’ve all felt it…that burning sensation that leads to more and more pain. Heartburn is a condition in which acid rises from the stomach into the esophagus, eroding the lining of the throat and causing symptoms like burning, chest pain, cough, sore throat or trouble swallowing. While heartburn can cause serious problems, it is also the type of problem that is often ignored or treated with over the counter medications without ever consulting with a doctor. What harm could a little heartburn cause?

Occasional heartburn following a large meal, spicy or acidic foods, lying down after eating or during pregnancy can often be treated with over the counter medications and the symptoms resolve. For people experiencing heartburn more than once a week or heartburn that does not improve with over the counter medications, it is important that you talk with your doctor about your symptoms and seek appropriate treatment. Common risk factors for reflux include being overweight, diets high in spicy or rich foods and the amount of alcohol consumed. For some people just avoiding the things that cause heartburn is treatment enough, but your doctor may see fit to start you on a medication to control your symptoms.

Research shows that there is a link between people with uncontrolled reflux and esophageal cancer due to the constant irritation and burning of the esophageal lining from the stomach acid. It is important to see a doctor at the first signs of persistent heartburn to seek treatment and try to prevent esophageal cancer or catch it in its early stages. If you have reflux more than once a week, if your reflux is no longer controlled by over the counter medications, if you have nausea and vomiting, trouble swallowing or changes in your voice, talk with your gastroenterologist about your symptoms and what treatment options you should pursue. Heartburn may seem like an easy thing to push aside and treat on your own but it may be a warning for something much more serious and should not be ignored. The doctors at Vanguard Gastro specialize in this exact problem. We are here to help you live pain free!

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