Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is one of America’s most common health conditions and affects 20% of the population. That’s why getting help and treatment for this digestive disorder is essential.

But, what are the symptoms? Also, how do you talk to your doctor about GERD?

You’re not alone if you’re worried about speaking to a medical professional about your symptoms because you’re embarrassed. Many people struggle to confront this condition and seek help.

Thankfully, this article is here to guide you through it so you can get the treatment you need to feel like yourself again.

Keep reading to find out more.

What Is GERD?

GERD targets the area between your esophagus and stomach. Generally, the main symptoms of the digestive disorder are:

  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep problems

Even though people experience these signs of GERD, it’s not unusual for this condition to be confused with generic heartburn.

For most of us, the occasional period of heartburn is expected. If you eat spicy food or drink too much coffee, you can develop stomach acid that causes heartburn. 

However, heartburn becomes problematic when it continues over an extended period and doesn’t go away with home remedies or over-the-counter medicine. 

The main difference between heartburn and GERD is chronic pain and acid reflux. In patients with GERD, the lower esophageal sphincter (ring of muscle that closes the stomach) doesn’t function correctly. 

This means that digestive acid can make its way into the esophagus, leading to severe damage if left untreated. 

So, if you’re feeling unwell and it’s not getting better, it’s time to go to the doctor. 

Tips for Talking to Your Doctor About GERD

Talking to your doctor about GERD is crucial because you can receive treatment and support for managing the condition. There’s no reason to live in pain if you can get help to soothe the disorder. 

Before you attend your appointment, it’s good to write a list of your symptoms and how long you’ve been experiencing these issues. Ideally, you can keep a notebook of the condition for a few weeks before seeing a doctor.

As doctor appointments are often time restricted, having detained information for them will help you find the right solution and treatment for your situation. 

So, here are some questions to ask yourself when writing the notes for your doctor: 

  • What are the symptoms? 
  • How long have you been experiencing GERD?
  • Have you tried home remedies?

Plus, you should think about what you want from the appointment. For instance, you can ask your doctor what treatments are available and how to better manage the condition at work and at home. 

The main thing is to be truthful and tell them honestly what pain or discomfort you’re feeling. 

Dealing With Doctor Anxiety

Besides writing down questions for your doctor and getting your information prepared, there are other tips you can try to calm your nerves leading up to the appointment. 

For example, you should schedule the visit at a time and day that suits you best. 

Depending on your working schedule, you might have some days that are super busy and others that are quiet. If you can, make an appointment for a day that works around your daily life. 

Also, think about the times of the day when you feel more stressed. If you don’t like mornings and tend to have high-stress levels at this time, make an afternoon appointment. 

Take Someone With You

It’s good to remember that you don’t need to attend your doctor’s visit alone. Not only does a friend or family member make you feel more comfortable, but they can also help you explain your symptoms.

If you feel embarrassed about GERD, your loved one can hold your hand and walk you through the visit. 

Practice Mindfulness at the Appointment

Nowadays, you can listen to therapeutic music and apps on your mobile phone wherever you go. So, use these tools to control your anxiety when visiting the doctor. 

You can also practice breathing techniques to ground yourself if you start feeling overwhelmed at the doctor’s practice. Additionally, you should be open with your doctor about your anxiety. 

They are trained professionals used to dealing with anxiety in their patients, so they’ll know what to say at the moment and help you with speaking about your symptoms. 

Treatment Options for GERD

Once you’ve spoken to your doctor, they’ll give you an overview of the treatment options available.

However, as GERD is often associated with anxiety and other mental health problems, making daily changes could help you improve the condition. 

For instance, you avoid triggering food, such as fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, and peppermint. This will make it easier to minimize the acid reflux throughout your days. 

Another tip for GERD sufferers is to eat slowly and mindfully. The more you pace your eating, the more time your stomach has to digest the food. This can make it easier for your body to break down the food. 

Finally, you can try natural dietary supplements that could make the condition better. At GerdLi, we specialize in making supplements that might improve your symptoms of this digestive disorder. 

As you can see, there are so many options for GERD sufferers that can improve your quality of life and let you enjoy food again without worrying about acid reflux and stomach aches. 

Find the Help You Deserve for GERD

Going to the doctor for GERD is not something you look forward to, but it’s worth it when you can feel the benefits of the treatment. You won’t need to live with the discomfort anymore. 

As long as you prepare your questions, write down the symptoms, and take the support you need for your appointment, it will be over before you know it! 

Making small changes in your habits and taking supplements can improve GERD and ease the pain. So, look at our website to find out more about our products. 

And, reach out if you have any questions for us. We’re here to help!

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Dr. Minhas, M.D.

Board-certified internal medicine (ABIM)