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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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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 Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) -- Prevention

Lifestyle changes sometimes help prevent symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a chronic form of heartburn. The major cause of GERD is that the lower esophageal sphincter, located where the esophagus joins the stomach, is weak or relaxes inappropriately. Because fatty foods, mints, chocolates, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or colas, relax the lower esophageal sphincter, you may be able to reduce the amount of acid reflux you experience by avoiding these...

Read the Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) -- Prevention article > >

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 24, 2014

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