Talk with Your Doc

Acid reflux and heartburn patients need better dialogue with their doctors

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Talking with your doctor is important when you're dealing with any health problem. If you and your doctor have good communication, you will have an easier time taking care of your health. Not talking with you doctor can make your problems worse.

In a recent survey, more than half of patients with heartburn said that they "occasionally" or "never" talked about their condition with a doctor. They did not tell their doctor about their condition even though many of them said that their heartburn or acid reflux seriously disrupted their lives.

"Heartburn patients need to talk with their doctors."

In order to figure out the best way to treat heartburn or acid reflux, doctors need to know how often and how intensely the condition affects patients, says Prateek Sharma, M.D., from the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

The survey's findings suggest that patients with acid reflux don't take their symptoms seriously, says Sharma. As a result, they don't talk to their doctor. One in five patients reported having trouble getting their health care provider to understand how bad their symptoms were

Many patients are interested in finding ways to improve their communication with their health care provider. Almost one in five patients never talk about their symptoms with a health care provider.

Sharma encourages patients to be open with their doctors and explain what they're feeling. Doing so will help doctors choose the best treatment.

The Study

  • The DISCUSS Survey included 1,004 American adults who had acid reflux disease and/or frequent heartburn
  • 77 percent of heartburn or acid reflux patients describe their symptoms as moderate to severe
  • 33 percent of patients have had to leave social situations early because of their symptoms
  • 31 percent of patients had to limit their physical activity
  • 34 percent of patients said they waited 12 months or more after their first symptoms to vista a health care provider
  • 40 percent of patients had not talked about their symptoms with their health care provider in the last 12 months
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 3, 2011
Last Updated:
May 3, 2011