Four Signs of Serious Heartburn You Shouldn’t Ignore
01. 30. 2017
Nearly everyone experiences heartburn from time to time, and for the most part, it’s no big deal. We simply pop a few antacids or take a trusted home remedy and carry on with our day. But what about heartburn that is serious? Heartburn episodes that increase in frequency and intensity or are accompanied by other worrisome symptoms could be a sign of an underlying condition. Here are four signs of serious heartburn that should cause you to take notice:
It occurs frequently
Heartburn that occurs twice or more per week could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive condition marked by chronic acid reflux. If left untreated, GERD can produce serious long-term complications including reflux esophagitis, narrowing of the esophagus (strictures), Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer. GERD is treatable, but early detection and treatment are crucial to avoid long-term damage to the esophagus.
It interferes with daily activities
Do you avoid exercise or social outings because you’re afraid of a heartburn flare-up? If you find yourself altering plans because of acid reflux symptoms, it’s time to seek treatment. Heartburn that interferes with daily activities could be a sign of a more serious condition.
You experience other symptoms
Is your heartburn accompanied by hoarseness, dry cough, difficulty swallowing, nausea, or sore throat? These are symptoms that should be discussed with your doctor. You may need to undergo an upper endoscopy, a simple outpatient procedure that provides an up-close look at the lining of your esophagus, stomach and first segment of the small intestine. With this exam, your gastroenterologist will be able to detect any abnormalities or structural causes that are contributing to your digestive symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications aren’t helping
Most bouts of heartburn can be relieved with over-the-counter antacids or medications. But if your symptoms continue, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Persistent heartburn can be an early warning sign of other health problems such as high blood pressure or heart disease (Source: Medical Daily).