The main symptom of
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is an
uncomfortable feeling of burning, warmth, heat, or pain just behind the
breastbone, a feeling commonly referred to as heartburn. Sometimes heartburn
can feel like the chest pain of a heart attack.
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if:
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...
You have symptoms of a heart attack. These may include:
Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
Nausea or vomiting.
Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly or in one or both shoulders or arms.
Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
A fast or irregular heartbeat.
After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
Call your doctor immediately if
Have bloody, black, or
Call your doctor if your GERD symptoms:
Do not improve after 2 weeks of home
treatment, are different or are getting worse, or are interfering with normal
Occur with choking or difficulty
Occur with a lot of weight loss when you are not trying to lose weight.
Have occurred frequently over several years and are only partially
relieved with lifestyle changes and nonprescription medicines that reduce or
Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. Occasional mild heartburn can often be relieved
by making lifestyle changes and taking nonprescription medicines that reduce or
block acid. Contact a doctor if
you have any of the symptoms listed above.
Who to see
The following health professionals can evaluate
symptoms of GERD:
You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in
diseases of the digestive tract (gastroenterologist) to check severe
GERD symptoms or to get an opinion on whether surgery is needed. If you are
thinking about having surgery, you may also be referred to a general surgeon
who has experience treating stomach and esophagus problems.
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this