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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Complications of Heartburn and GERD

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2. Increased Risk of Esophagus Cancer continued...

Having Barrett’s esophagus can also make esophagus cancer more likely, especially if there’s a history of the condition in your family.

Symptoms of this type of cancer, such as troubling swallowing and chest pain, don’t appear until the disease reaches a later stage. That’s when it becomes harder to treat. Ask your doctor about getting screened if you have a higher risk for the disease. He may want to do an endoscopy regularly.

3. Tooth Decay

Heartburn can also take a toll on your smile. Stomach acid can wear down enamel, your teeth’s hard outer layer. This can weaken teeth and lead to cavities.

What Can You Do?

Get the right treatment for your acid reflux to avoid having these related health problems.

Some lifestyle changes can also help:

  • Eat smaller meals, and avoid snacking before bedtime.
  • Raise the head of your bed by 6 inches.
  • Cut back on fatty and acidic foods, alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, and coffee.

Talk to your doctor. He may recommend taking medicine, such as an antacid, H2 blocker, or proton pump inhibitor (PPI). These are available over the counter and by prescription.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on November 19, 2015
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