Heartburn has been described as a burning feeling in the chest and is a symptom of acid reflux (GERD). The sensation can feel similar to a heart attack and if a patient goes to the emergency room because of chest pain, tests will be undertaken to rule out heart problems. If there is persistent chest pain then seek immediate medical help.
Heartburn commonly occurs after eating a meal, with some foods and drinks, in particular, making symptoms feel worse. It can also disturb sleep patterns and it typically occurs in pregnant women. But when exactly should you see a doctor about the discomfort or pain? Leading gastroenterologist Dr Aathavan Loganayagam explains just when the symptoms of acid heartburn and acid reflux becomes enough to visit a doctor…
When should I see a specialist about heartburn and acid reflux?
- Your heartburn symptoms have become more severe or frequent
- You are having difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing, especially with solid foods or pills
- Your heartburn is causing you to have nausea or vomiting (especially if you are vomiting blood or black material)
- You've experienced a drastic or unexplained weight loss accompanied by heartburn
- You have a chronic cough, choking sensation or sense of a lump in your throat
- You have been using over-the-counter antacid medications for more than two weeks (or for a longer period than recommended on the label), and you still have heartburn symptoms
- You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription or non-prescription medications
- You have chronic hoarseness or wheezing, or your asthma has worsened
- Your discomfort interferes with your lifestyle or daily activities
- You are having chest pain accompanied by pain in the neck, jaw, arms, or legs; shortness of breath, weakness, irregular pulse, or sweating
- You have extreme stomach pain
- You are experiencing diarrhoea or black or bloody bowel movements