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GERD: When to See a Doctor

GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a digestive disorder more commonly known as acid reflux. It happens when there is a backflow of the acidic contents of the stomach to the esophagus. 

According to the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, this chronic disease is prevalent in 18.1 percent to 27.8 percent of patients in North America. Though it is common, GERD can cause complications and tissue damage with repeated or prolonged episodes.

Seeking Medical Attention

For many GERD patients, a conscious change in diet or over-the-counter medications may usually bring relief and reduce the following symptoms:

  • A burning sensation in the chest (heartburn)
  • Regurgitation of sour-tasting liquid
  • Unpleasant throat sensation, and
  • Some difficulty in swallowing

But if the acid reflux is disrupting a patient's sleep and affecting the patient's way of life, then a visit to the doctor is necessary.

If the acid reflux episodes are becoming more frequent (such as once a week) and the patient is no longer experiencing improvements in the symptoms, despite taking the medication, you should see the doctors in our walk-in clinic in Palm Springs. The doctor could switch your medication or recommend other tests to determine what is aggravating the symptoms. 

According to Harvard Health, acid reflux symptoms are also similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. So, even if the patients are aware of their condition, a trip to the emergency hospital for immediate medical attention should not be delayed if the GERD is accompanied by chest pains. 

Risk Factors for GERD

According to experts in our walk-in clinic in Lake Worth, it's still advisable to get evaluated for GERD if the patient has the following risk factors: 

  • The patient is diagnosed as obese.
  • The patient is pregnant.
  • The patient is a smoker.
  • The patient likes to consume alcohol or coffee in more than the usual amounts.
  • The patient frequently eats fried or fatty food.

Over time, when GERD is not controlled, it can lead to the following complications:

  • Esophageal stricture, which damages and causes scar tissue in the esophagus
  • Esophageal ulcer, which causes bleeding in the tissues and soreness of the esophagus
  • Barrett's esophagus, which leads to damage in the tissue lining of the esophagus that raises the risk for esophageal cancer. 

According to the American Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, about 10 to 15 percent of GERD patients could develop Barrett's esophagus if GERD isn't managed and controlled. So it pays to visit the doctor at the first indication that GERD symptoms are not improving. 

Learn more about Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches Walk-in Clinic in Palm Springs

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of GERD, you must seek medical help from doctors in our urgent care clinic, Palm Beach Gardens and walk-in clinic in Lake Worth for proper management.

For your convenience, we have made our services more accessible. Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches has clinics in three convenient locations: Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Springs/Forest Hill, and West Palm Beach urgent care. You may schedule an appointment with our doctors online or come over as a walk-in patient. We guarantee you a maximum of 15 minutes waiting time.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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