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 esophageal reflux. It can cause heartburn, chest pain, cough, or hoarseness.
Below are questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your heartburn and reflux.
If I have heartburn, can I treat myself or do I need to see the provider?
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?
Will cigarettes, alcohol, or 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 provider?
- 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 esophageal 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?
- If I have surgery, will I ever need to have another surgery for my reflux?
What to ask your provider about heartburn and reflux; Reflux - what to ask your provider; GERD - what to ask your provider; Gastroesophageal reflux disease - what to ask your provider
Katz PO, Gerson LB, Vela MF. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(3):308-328. PMID: 23419381 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23419381/.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Acid reflux (GER & GERD) in adults. www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults. Updated July 2020. Accessed March 22, 2023.
Richter JE, Vaezi MF. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 46.
Review Date 3/2/2023
Updated by: Jacob Berman, MD, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.