Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a very common problem leading to a number of symptoms. The most common or typical symptoms of GERD are heart burn, esophageal reflux, and sometimes difficulty in swallowing. Other common symptoms include coughs and asthma. Other problems that severe GERD can cause include dental disease and Barrett's esophagus which can lead to cancer of the esophagus. Most people with GERD will have trouble lying flat especially after meals. People with GERD will experience more severe symptoms when they are also pregnant or obese because it puts a lot of pressure on the abdomen. I think your doctor
is correct in referring you to a specialist because GERD is not so straight forward a diagnosis. In one study, up to 30% of patients being referred for a GERD work-up did not have any acid reflux. Thus, it is important to make sure that you have it before starting on expensive treatments. Typically an internist
or a gastroenterologist
can help you. He or she may want to order a 24-hour pH study to see if it is indeed an acid reflux, a barium contrast study to see if you have any strictures in your esophagus, esophageal motility disorders, or whether or not you have a hiatal hernia. The doctor may also recommend an upper endoscopy to see if you have any mucosa damage. I would recommend that you schedule a visit with a doctor soon.