If you’re recently found out that you have acid reflux, you likely have a million questions. Acid reflux is a disease that occurs when stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus. This happens when a ring of muscle between your esophagus and stomach, known as the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), doesn’t work as well as it should. The LES is supposed to keep acid and food from re-entering the esophagus.
There are many medical conditions and factors that make people more or less likely to develop acid reflux, but the symptoms for everyone are usually similar. Heartburn, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and difficulty swallowing are some of the most common symptoms associated with acid reflux.
Home remedies can be useful for acid reflux, but a medical professional can help guide a treatment plan and help you understand your own individual condition. When you have a lot of questions to ask, it can be helpful to make a list of everything. If you’re having trouble keeping track of what you need to know, here’s 6 important questions to remember to ask your doctor:
Is My Acid Reflux Being Caused By A Medical Condition?
There are many conditions that can increase your chances of having acid reflux. Many of these are treatable or go away with time. Pregnancy, for instance, is a common temporary reason for having acid reflux. Obesity is also a common contributor, and weight loss can make a huge difference for your comfort. A hiatal hernia is another frequent cause, as are certain connective tissue and stomach disorders.
If you have another medical condition alongside acid reflux, or suspect you might have one, talk to your doctor to learn if treating your condition could make your acid reflux better.
Is My Acid Reflux Severe?
Many people have heartburn at some point in their lives, but experiencing such symptoms at least twice a week qualifies you for a diagnosis of mild acid reflux. acid reflux that is severe or moderate usually shows symptoms at least once a week, according to the Mayo Clinic. Asking your doctor about the severity of your acid reflux can help you better understand your treatment plan, any tests you may need, and your risk for future complications.
Do I Need to Take Medications?
There are certain medications that can help lessen the symptoms of acid reflux. Some of these medications have more side effects than others. Ask your doctor about any medications that you’ll need to take to control your acid reflux.
You should also let your doctor know about any medications that you’ve been taking. Some medications have been shown to make acid reflux worse. Iron supplements, certain antibiotics, and even pain relievers are just a few of these medication types. Let your doctor know everything that you’re taking so that any acid reflux triggers can be ruled out.
What Can I Do at Home to Ease My Symptoms?
Your doctor can let you know about the types of food and drink that are best for people with acid reflux. They can also let you know if you should raise the head of your bed or even try alternative treatments, such as relaxation techniques, that have been shown to help.
How Do You Tell the Difference Between Heart Attack Pain and Acid Reflux?
Talk with your doctor about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack versus the signs and symptoms of acid reflux. The pain from acid reflux can sometimes be so intense and uncomfortable that people go to the emergency room believing that they are having a heart attack. It can be difficult for even trained medical professionals to tell the difference at first.
Am I At Risk of Complications from Acid Reflux?
It’s important to treat and monitor your acid reflux. Severe, untreated acid reflux can sometimes lead to devastating complications. Barrett’s Esophagus is one of those complications. Barrett’s is a condition where the esophagus has precancerous changes that could lead to esophageal cancer. This condition tends to be on everyone’s mind when acid reflux is diagnosed. Your doctor can help you minimize your risk.
acid reflux can also cause bleeding and inflammation, as well as sinus or even respiratory problems. Talking with your doctor about ways to minimize these complications should be a priority.