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What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

How would I know if I have acid reflux? I mean, I do have heartburn periodically, but so does everybody. Is there some sort of test you can take to distinguish between the two kinds of heartburns? I know acid reflux disease runs in my family, but I've never talked to a doctor about mine.
Heartburn is one of the most common reasons that people seek medical advise. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your primary care doctor. Acid reflux is caused when the stomach's acid contents escape through the band of muscle at the junction of the stomach and esophagus and cause chemical irritation of the mouth and esophagus. The symptoms can include a pain and burning sensation in the chest as well as bad breath. "Heart burn" and acid reflux are exactly the same thing, although in common language we often do not call it "acid reflux" until it is happening persistently and requires medical assistance. If you have persistent heart burn symptoms (as opposed to say, just once or twice a month with a heavy meal) then you should talk to your doctor. This is because over time the acid can damage the esophagus and predispose to esophageal cancer; and because, sometimes, a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori is the cause and requires treatment. As always the diagnosis and the management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor might be advised.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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