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The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana
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mins
Women's & Children's Hospital
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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Heartburn

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with GERD or heartburn. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • Could my symptoms be caused by GERD?
  • Do I need to be treated for GERD?
  • Am I at increased risk for GERD?
  • Are there specific foods I should avoid to lower my risk of developing GERD?
  • Does being overweight increase my risk of developing GERD?
  • Can smoking increase my risk of GERD?
  • Are medications sufficient to control GERD?
    • What side effects are associated with these drugs?
    • Will they interact with other medications, over the counter products, or dietary and herbal supplements I am taking?
  • At what point should I consider surgery to control GERD?
  • What lifestyle changes can I make to help manage or control GERD?
  • Do I have to eat a completely bland diet to control GERD?
  • Are there any restrictions on exercise?
  • Can you give me some advice for quitting smoking?
  • Are there complications that I should be concerned about?
  • How can I avoid these complications?

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2014 -
  • Update Date: 05/08/2014 -
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 29, 2013. Accessed April 30, 2013.

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal%5Fdisorders/esophageal%5Fand%5Fswallowing%5Fdisorders/gastroesophageal%5Freflux%5Fdisease%5Fgerd.html. Updated May 2012. Accessed April 30, 2013.

  • Heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux (GER), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd. Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed April 30, 2013.

  • Katz PO, Gerson LB, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(3):302-328.

  • Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed April 29, 2013

  • Understanding heartburn and reflux disease. American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/heartburn-gerd. Published April 25, 2010. Accessed April 30, 2010.