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How to Talk to Your Doctor About Acid Reflux

An occasional episode of heartburn is normal, but if you’re experiencing heartburn several times a week, it may be time to consult your doctor. Navigating your journey with acid reflux and GERD can be frustrating – from the complex medical terminology and limited time we get with doctors, it can feel difficult to have productive conversations and exchange information effectively during an appointment. 

In this blog, we’ll provide resources to help you set goals for your appointment, what questions you should ask, and which questions you should be prepared to answer.  For added support, we created this worksheet for you to download and print, which will help you organize the information you will need for your appointment.

Ready to get started?


Determine Your Goals for the Appointment

When you have a limited window with your doctor, setting a clear goal for your appointment can streamline the discussion. Start by determining whether this is your initial meeting with a new clinician or a follow-up with someone you've been seeing. This will shape the objectives of your visit.

Here are some examples of appointment goals:

Example of possible appointment reason:

Example of an appointment goal:

You are looking for diagnostic tests to confirm whether you have GERD or something else.

I am hoping to get a diagnostic test because I am not sure what my symptoms mean.

Are you searching for an alternative treatment than what you are already on? Why?

I’ve been on a PPI or H2 Blocker for X amount of time and I would like to know alternative options that may help me.

Do you think that you need long-term treatment?

I have been experiencing acid reflux symptoms for X amount of time  and lifestyle and diet changes don’t seem to be working for me. I think I need a longer term treatment plan.

Are you looking for a referral to a specialist?

I have another health condition and I am seeking support from a specialist that understands this condition and how it impacts my ongoing acid reflux/GERD issues.

Health History & List of Medications and/or Supplements

Get ready for your discussion by jotting down your acid reflux history. Gathering details before your appointment ensures you can give your clinician a thorough overview. 

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Maximize your appointment with your doctor by preparing a list of questions in advance. Here are some examples to consider:

Prepare for Their Questions

Your doctor may also have questions for you to better understand your condition. Here are some they might ask:

  1. How often do you experience heartburn?
  2. Do you have regurgitation of food or acid?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how severe is your discomfort?
  4. How frequently do your symptoms occur?
  5. Do your symptoms affect your sleep?
  6. Are you receiving treatment for any other medical conditions?
  7. If you've been treated before, what was prescribed and how quickly did you experience relief?


Be an Advocate for Your Health

Remember, knowledge is key to taking control of your health, and you know yourself better than anyone. Let your doctor know that you're eager to play an active role in your healthcare decisions, making the appointment a collaborative effort. If you ever feel unheard or your concerns aren't addressed, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion.

Empower yourself on your health journey. With the right treatment, you can effectively manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. You've got this!