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How can your doctor help with the symptoms of heartburn?

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Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do an exam. It can be helpful to keep a journal to note what you eat and drink and when you have heartburn. This will help you and your doctor pinpoint your triggers. If medicine and lifestyle changes don’t control your heartburn, you can take one of these tests to find out what's causing the problem:

  • pH test. This measures the acidity of your esophagus. The doctor will either attach a small sensor to your esophagus or place a thin tube down your esophagus.
  • Endoscopy. A long, thin tube with a light on the end is put down your esophagus so your doctor can look inside your esophagus and stomach. Endoscopy can look for problems such as an ulcer or narrowing inside your esophagus.
  • X-ray. You’ll drink a liquid that coats the inside of your digestive tract. Then X-rays are taken, which will allow your doctor to see the outline of your digestive system.

From: Heartburn Relief Tips WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

AHRQ: “Treatment Options for GERD or Acid Reflux Disease: A Review of the Research for Adults.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Heartburn.”

American College of Gastroenterology: “Acid Reflux.”

American Gastroenterological Association: “Understanding Heartburn and Reflux Disease.”

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: “Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.”

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists: “Cimetidine.”

Brahm, N. , April 2011. The Consultant Pharmacist

Cleveland Clinic: “GERD and Asthma.”

FDA: “Possible Increased Risk of Bone Fractures with Certain Antacid Drugs.”

Hye-kyung J. , January 2010. Journal of Neurogastroenterol Motility

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: “Exercise & GI Symptoms.”

Katz, P. , 2013. American Journal of Gastroenterology

NHLBI: “What are the symptoms of a heart attack?”

NIDDK: “Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Adults.”

Thompson, W. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 2, 2019

SOURCES:

AHRQ: “Treatment Options for GERD or Acid Reflux Disease: A Review of the Research for Adults.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Heartburn.”

American College of Gastroenterology: “Acid Reflux.”

American Gastroenterological Association: “Understanding Heartburn and Reflux Disease.”

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: “Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.”

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists: “Cimetidine.”

Brahm, N. , April 2011. The Consultant Pharmacist

Cleveland Clinic: “GERD and Asthma.”

FDA: “Possible Increased Risk of Bone Fractures with Certain Antacid Drugs.”

Hye-kyung J. , January 2010. Journal of Neurogastroenterol Motility

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: “Exercise & GI Symptoms.”

Katz, P. , 2013. American Journal of Gastroenterology

NHLBI: “What are the symptoms of a heart attack?”

NIDDK: “Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Adults.”

Thompson, W. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 2, 2019

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When is heartburn an emergency?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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