GERD: Why Seeing Your Doctor Is Important - What To Expect

GERD: Why Seeing Your Doctor Is Important - What To Expect

Goodpath Digestive Health Assessment

You just completed your assessment, the first part of becoming a member in our Digestive Health program.  The assessment is a key part of creating a personalized plan based on your medical history, current digestive symptoms, and other factors. 

Your answers suggest that you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD/GORD). This is when stomach contents flow back into your esophagus causing irritation.

GERD Symptoms

The main symptoms of GERD are ongoing heartburn and regurgitation. Heartburn is described as pain or burning in the chest, particularly under the breastbone (sternum). Regurgitation is characterized by a sour taste in the mouth and a feeling of food or fluid moving up and down in the esophagus. 

Additional symptoms may include chest pain, sore throat, cough, and hoarse voice. Symptoms often worsen when you’re lying down, especially after eating.

Our Recommendation

Most of the people who complete the Digestive Health assessment and whose responses suggest they may have GERD are able to start their Goodpath program right away. However, there are a small number of individuals who should see their doctors for further evaluation. Their assessment answers convey that they might have a condition other than GERD or complications due to GERD.

Due to your assessment answers, contact your doctor as soon as possible, to discuss your digestive symptoms.

Why Seeing Your Doctor Is Important

There are two main reasons why you should see your doctor.

1. Other symptoms that occur with your GERD symptoms may mean another condition. They include: 

  • Difficult or painful swallowing

  • Unintended weight loss - this means losing more than 5% of your total body weight within the past six months without trying. For example, a person who weighs 140 pounds loses 7 or more pounds.

  • Upper or lower gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding - you may have bloody or black-colored stool or vomiting of blood (hematemesis)

  • Iron-deficiency anemia without a known cause

2. Long-term or worsening  GERD symptoms, with or without treatment, may result in complications.

  1. Esophagitis or inflammation of the esophagus is the most common complication. Less common ones are hemorrhage (excessive bleeding), stricture (narrowing), Barrett’s esophagus (changes of the lining of the lower part of the esophagus), and adenocarcinoma (cancer of the esophagus)

  2. Other GERD complications are reflux-related chronic cough,chronic laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx or voice box with hoarseness), worsening asthma, or erosion of teeth. 

Your doctor can determine whether or not your other symptoms are related to GERD or to another condition. They can also provide the appropriate care to help prevent or treat complications.

What To Expect 

When you see your doctor they will ask you about your symptoms, review your medical history, and perform an exam. Based on the information, they may prescribe treatment including medication and lifestyle changes. 

Depending on their findings, they may order lab and diagnostic tests, for example:

  • pH monitoring to measure acid in the esophagus and frequency of reflux

  • Upper endoscopy (use of a scope to examine your upper GI tract). They may also refer you to a gastroenterologist (GI doctor) for further evaluation.

Goodpath Support

Once you are treated by your doctor, you may be able to take part in Goodpath’s digestive health program. It includes additional therapies that support the care you received from your doctor. Your digestive health program may include supplements, mind-body techniques, and support from a dietitian.