Talking to Your Doctor About Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with GERD. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide more details to the doctor.
- Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
- Think about keeping a diary of your symptoms, triggers, and a list of your medicines. Share this with your doctor at every visit.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Could my symptoms be caused by GERD?
- What other things may cause these symptoms?
About Your Risk of Developing GERD
- Am I at increased risk for GERD?
- Are there steps I can take to lower my risk of getting GERD?
About Treatment Options
- Are medicines enough to control GERD?
- What the side effects?
- Will they cause problems with the other medicines, over the counter products, or supplements I am taking?
- How long will I have to take medicines?
- If symptoms are managed, does this mean GERD is gone?
- At what point should I think about having surgery to control GERD?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Do I have to eat a bland diet to control GERD?
- How much can I exercise?
- Can you give me some advice on how to quit smoking?
- Are there complications that I should be concerned about?
- How will I know if I have them?
- How can I avoid them?
- Acid reflux (GER and GERD) in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults. Accessed March 18, 2022.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: https://aga-cms-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/2018214195040---All_GERD_2017.pdf. Accessed March 18, 2022.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Accessed March 18, 2022.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Merck Manual Professional Version. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/esophageal-and-swallowing-disorders/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Accessed March 18, 2022.
- Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
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