Answers to Common Digestive Health Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about digestive health.

At what point should a patient seek medical attention for acid reflux or heartburn?

Dr. Lowry discusses when to seek medical attention for acid reflux or heartburn. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


Occasional acid reflux and heartburn can usually be settled with over-the-counter medication, but more frequent issues and more serious symptoms could call for medical attention.

If you are still having heartburn or acid reflux after two weeks of taking over-the-counter medication, you should plan a visit with your doctor, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The NIH also recommends contacting your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Black or bloody stools
  • Blood in vomit
  • Painful swallowing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Unplanned weight loss

Also, if you have chest pain that you would usually associate with heartburn, but it is severe or goes along with shortness of breath, dizziness or arm pain, you could be having a heart attack and should call 911 for emergency care, according to the AAFP.

If you are concerned about reflux or heartburn symptoms, talk with your doctor.

Learn more:

Source: L. Stewart Lowry, MD, FACS, Miami County Surgeons; Rosanne Danielson, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists; Fayez Abboud, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists; Marcus Washington, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine


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