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Talking to Your Doctor About Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with GERD symptoms. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About GERD

  • Could my symptoms be caused by GERD?
  • What are other potential causes of my symptoms?

About Your Risk of Developing GERD

  • Am I at increased risk for GERD?
  • Are there steps I can take to decrease my risk of developing GERD?

About Treatment Options

  • Are medications sufficient to control GERD?
    • What side effects are associated with these drugs?
    • Will they interact with other medications, over the counter products, or dietary and herbal supplements I am taking?
    • How long will I have to take medications?
  • If symptoms are managed, does this mean GERD is gone?
  • At what point should I consider surgery to control GERD?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Do I have to eat a completely bland diet to control GERD?
  • Are there any restrictions on exercise?
  • Can you give me some advice for quitting smoking?

About Outlook

  • Are there complications that I should be concerned about?
  • How do I know if I have developed any of these complications?
  • How can I avoid these complications?


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated February 19, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2015.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The Merck Manual Professional Edition. Available at: Updated May 2014. Accessed March 2, 2015.

Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: Updated May 2014. Accessed March 2, 2015.

Last reviewed May 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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