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When to Call the Doctor About Heartburn or Reflux

    If you have any of the following heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (also called acid reflux or GERD) symptoms or conditions, contact your doctor.

    • Your heartburn symptoms have become more severe or frequent
    • You are having difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing, especially with solid foods or pills
    • Your heartburn is causing you to have nausea or vomiting (especially if you are vomiting blood or black material)
    • You've experienced a drastic or unexplained weight loss accompanied by heartburn
    • You have a chronic cough, choking sensation or sense of a lump in your throat.
    • You have been using over-the-counter antacid medications for more than two weeks (or for a longer period than recommended on the label), and you still have heartburn symptoms
    • You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription or nonprescription medications
    • You have chronic hoarseness or wheezing, or your asthma has worsened
    • Your discomfort interferes with your lifestyle or daily activities
    • You are having chest pain accompanied by pain in the neck, jaw, arms, or legs; shortness of breath, weakness, irregular pulse, or sweating
    • You have extreme stomach pain
    • You are experiencing diarrhea or black or bloody bowel movements

    Recommended Related to Heartburn/GERD

    Understanding Hiatal Hernia -- Diagnosis and Treatment

    A physical exam for hiatal hernia is similar to that for heartburn, with two additions: X-rays may be ordered to show the hernia, and if anemia is a concern, a blood sample may be taken to check your red blood cell count. A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed with a specialized X-ray study that allows visualization of the esophagus and stomach (barium swallow) or with endoscopy (a test that allows the doctor to view the hernia directly). An esophageal manometry test (pressure study) may also be performed...

    Read the Understanding Hiatal Hernia -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 24, 2014
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