Heartburn is one of those minor ailments that can end up causing major problems when left untreated. How do you know when it’s time to see a doctor about heartburn? Read on!
Heartburn occurs when the acid content of the stomach travels up the esophagus. The lining of the esophagus isn’t designed to withstand acidity, and this is what causes the pain associated with heartburn.
If you only get heartburn on occasion, for example after overeating, you can use an over-the-counter product to get some relief. There are two types: antacids, which are fast-acting but also have a short-lived effect, and acid reducers, which take longer to take effect but provide relief for several hours. Your pharmacist can help you choose the right product for your case.
However, if over-the-counter products are not alleviating your symptoms, if you get heartburn three or more times per week, or if the heartburn is severe enough that it affects your quality of life, it’s important to see a doctor. Based on your symptoms and various tests that may be performed, your doctor can determine the cause of the problem and suggest the appropriate treatment.
If you suffer from heartburn, don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist, who can help you determine if you can take an over-the-counter product or if you should consult a physician.