What should I tell my doctor about my GERD symptoms?

By: Elizabeth Scherer

An important key to diagnosis is your symptom history. It covers the following, which you should have available for your doctor:

  • the exact symptoms you experience
  • how long you have had symptoms
  • how severe your symptoms are
  • when symptoms occur and how long they last
  • factors that may be contributing to your symptoms
  • other illnesses that may be causing your symptoms or making them worse
  • anything that has made your symptoms improve
  • any medications you've been taking for these symptoms or any other problems

Fortunately, GERD is often easy for your doctor to recognize based solely on your symptoms. Other times, your doctor may need to dig a bit deeper to determine whether or not you have GERD and how it can be best treated.


How long have you had symptoms?

Even though the length of time that you've had GERD symptoms doesn't determine the severity of your condition, it may provide your doctor with clues. For example, those with mild symptoms often report they've had symptoms for years, while those with a sudden occurrence of symptoms may have something more serious, such as a stricture or an ulcer.

When do symtpoms occur?

Make sure you tell your doctor:

  • how soon after eating your symptoms occur
  • if any particular foods bring on symptoms
  • if your symptoms are worse at a certain time of day
  • if any particular movement or activity causes symptoms