Ordinary heartburn is a normal part of modern life. Quick meals, spicy food and lots of caffeine translate into occasional bouts of a burning sensation in the chest. Usually, an antacid tablet or just a little time takes care of the problem and life goes on. You know deep down that this is a medical problem, but it’s so common and usually not more than an annoyance.
Nevertheless, the symptoms of heartburn can mimic the symptoms of more serious disorders and severe heartburn can lead to chronic problems. How do you know when it reaches the level of severe heartburn and you need to see a doctor?
Some of the ways to know when to go to the doctor are just common sense. The symptoms of even mild heartburn are difficult to overlook as you know your own body. When the symptoms change, become more frequent or more painful you know it. Often, people feel a little silly to bother a doctor with a condition that could be a common, minor problem. No one likes to look like a complainer. However, it is always safer to err on the side of caution with a matter like severe heartburn?
When your heartburn persists even after you have taken the medication that normally works, you may be experiencing severe heartburn. If the problem lasts longer than usual and the pain is worse, you should call your doctor. Difficulty in swallowing, pain when swallowing or the feeling of having something stuck in your throat is a sign that you should contact your doctor. Don’t ignore pain that keeps you awake or wakes you during the night, nor should you ignore pain in the neck, chest or back.
Ordinary heartburn will not cause vomiting and signs of blood should never be ignored. Other signs of severe heartburn include persistent hoarseness, throat pain and coughing or wheezing. Excessive saliva or serious weight loss are indications that you should call the doctor. Above all, ordinary heartburn should not interfere with your regular routines.
Accepting severe heartburn as part of your life is not necessary. If over the counter medicine or home remedies don’t take care of the problem, you may be experiencing something other than heartburn. Acid indigestion, for instance, is not the same as heartburn in spite of similar symptoms. It is much more serious and can lead to much more chronic conditions. If you feel that you are experiencing severe heartburn, assume that you are right and contact your physician.