Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have to go to the doctor if I have acid reflux all of the time?"
I have what I think is acid reflux all the time. I take over the counter medicine (Zantac) and Tums too and it is pretty much under control. Should I still see a doctor about it? I don?t have health insurance so I don?t want to go unless I really have to.
Acid reflux (also known as gastro-esophageal reflux, or GERD) is a very common disorder that over time can cause problems in the esophagus. GERD is obviously an uncomfortable problem and effects what people can eat, and can even cause problems with sleeping. Some people do okay with the over the counter medications, but these (especially the ones you are taking) are outdated and newer medications work much better. It is very important that you get your GERD symptoms under control. This is because over many years GERD can result in the development of esophageal cancer. GERD is not something that should be managed alone without the help of a physician. Thus, I think you should schedule an appointment to see a primary care doctor. He or she can listen to a description of your symptoms and recommend a better treatment that may even still be over-the-counter. This will help you get relief without the risk of taking too many Tums, and will work better than the Zantac. In the future (hopefully when you have health insurance), you should see a gastroenterologist who can take a look at your esophagus with a scope to make sure there is no dangerous lesions that should be followed.
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