When should I call my doctor about my GERD symptoms?

Dr. Manuel E. Rodriguez, MD

A gastroenterologist talks about the severity of symptoms and the dangers of frequently using over-the-counter medicines. Watch this video with Manuel Rodriguez, MD from Blake Medical Center.

You should see your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, trouble swallowing or internal bleeding in addition to heartburn and/or acid regurgitation. Symptoms that persist after you have made simple lifestyle changes also warrant a visit to your doctor. In addition, if you use over-the-counter medications regularly to reduce symptoms such as heartburn or acid regurgitation, you should consult a physician to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Intermountain Healthcare
Administration Specialist

If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), contact your doctor if you have ongoing problems with any of the following:

  • Frequent heartburn or chest pain, especially when lying down
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sour-tasting fluid backing up into your mouth
  • Coughing a lot and over a long period of time
  • Wheezing or hoarseness
  • Symptoms that get worse when you eat, bend over or lie down

Call your doctor right away if you experience the symptoms listed below. These symptoms could indicate more serious medical problems such as a heart problem or an ulcer:

  • Vomiting red blood or blood that looks like coffee grounds
  • Passing black, tarry or bloody stools
  • Losing weight unexpectedly

You should ask your doctor what lifestyle changes you can make to decrease the risk of GERD as well as whether or not a medication is right for you. If you've had GERD for a long time, you should also ask your doctor if seeing a gastroenterologist is a good idea because long-term GERD can increase your risk for esophageal cancer.

If you're experiencing frequent heartburn, you should see a doctor. In this video, Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, a gastroenterologist at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, discusses what you should ask your doctor about acid reflux.

Sigma Nursing
Administration Specialist

You should talk to your doctor about your gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn symptoms, especially if you get heartburn more than twice a week. Though occasional heartburn is very common and probably not serious, frequent heartburn is the primary symptom of GERD. If your symptoms are interfering with your normal daily activities or if you have been treating your symptoms with over-the-counter medications for more than two weeks, you should contact your doctor.

Continue Learning about GERD



GERD -- gastroesophageal reflux disease -- can cause heartburn, however, it isn’t the same. GERD is a chronic problem that is experienced at least twice a week. Learn more from our experts about GERD.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.