Heartburn is a painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. It happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.
If you have heartburn more than twice a week, you may have GERD. But you can have GERD without having heartburn.
Pregnancy, certain foods, alcohol, and some medications can bring on heartburn. Treating heartburn is important because over time reflux can damage the esophagus.
Over-the-counter medicines may help. If the heartburn continues, you may need prescription medicines or surgery.
If you have other symptoms such as crushing chest pain, it could be a heart attack. Get help immediately.
What to Ask your Doctor about Heartburn
You have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition causes food or stomach acid to come back into your esophagus from your stomach. This process is called reflux. It can cause heartburn, chest pain, cough, or hoarseness.
Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of your heartburn and reflux.
Questions about Heartburn
If I have heartburn, can I treat myself or do I need to see the doctor?
What foods will make my heartburn worse?
How can I change the way I eat to help my heartburn?
- How long should I wait after eating before lying down?
- How long should I wait after eating before exercising?
Will losing weight help my symptoms?
Do cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine make my heartburn worse?
If I have heartburn at night, what changes should I make to my bed?
What medicines will help my heartburn?
- Will antacids help my heartburn?
- Will other medicines help my symptoms?
- Do I need a prescription to buy heartburn medicines?
- Do these drugs have side effects?
How do I know if I have a more serious problem?
- When should I call the doctor?
- What other tests or procedures will I need if my heartburn does not go away?
- Can heartburn be a sign of cancer?
Are there surgeries that help with heartburn and reflux?
- How are the surgeries done? What are the risks?
- How well do the surgeries work?
- Will I still need to take medicine for my reflux after surgery?
- Will I ever need to have another surgery for my reflux?