If you think that GERD is causing your symptoms, you will want to know what comes next. GERD can be mild to severe. Because the esophagus is so close to the heart and lungs, conditions related to GERD are often harsh, especially when left untreated.
After finding out your diagnosis, it's essential to take some time for yourself. You may feel overwhelmed with ongoing symptoms and information overload about your case. Be gentle on yourself- no one is used to dealing with health problems.
Common Symptoms Of GERD Include
- Acid Reflux
- Discomfort behind breastbone
- Bad breath
- Coughing up mucus
What Is Your Doctor Recommending?
Your doctor will most likely recommend medications that reduce the production of stomach acid and make your esophagus less acidic.
Medications To Treat Symptoms:
Some patients also have success with weight loss and eating smaller portions throughout meals. Eating less may help to reduce symptoms of GERD. As always, be sure to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medication plan!
What Symptoms Might You Expect With Medication
After starting medications, symptoms you may notice are mild nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, tiredness, headache, dry mouth, cough, and muscle aches. Symptoms are often worse when you first start taking the medication, but they should improve over time. If your symptoms don't improve at all within a few weeks, make sure to let your doctor know.
Who Is At Risk For Serious Complications?
Not everyone with GERD has complications. However, some people who are at risk of severe difficulties include those who have:
- Symptoms lasting longer than four weeks
- That interferes with daily life
- While lying down, bending over, or exercising
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Odynophagia (painful swallowing)
- Symptoms occur more often after eating certain foods
- A family history of complications related to GERD.
Other Symptoms To Be Aware Of:
- Low magnesium
- Muscle spasms
- Asthma or chronic cough
- Acid reflux disease (ARD) is a condition caused by GERD but is not GERD.
What Should I Do If My GERD Symptoms Persist?
Your doctor will work with you and your digestive specialist (gastroenterologist) to help control the severity and duration of your GERD. They may recommend trying prescription medications or surgery to help manage your symptoms. Keep in mind that the goal of treatment is to decrease or eliminate your symptoms and increase your quality of life!
When Will I Feel Better?
GERD generally improves within a couple of weeks after you start taking medications. If it doesn't, make sure to let your doctor know so they can try another course of action. In some cases, GERD can be caused by other conditions such as hiatus hernia, ulcers, dyspepsia, etc.
Symptoms from these conditions could confuse GERD when actually what is causing them is entirely different. For this reason, it's essential to consult with a doctor in order not to neglect something serious.
Here at GI Associates, we are here to support your esophagus health. That includes issues related to GERD. To learn more about this condition or schedule a consultation with a member of our team, please feel free to contact us.