Gastro-oesophagel reflux disease and heartburn

Patient

Q: Hello, I think I may have a slight food allergy of some sort, but I could be completely wrong! I am not sure what the problem is, but I just do not feel "right". I have severe heartburn every day. I feel fatigued, bloated, have headaches frequently, and I am short of breath sometimes. I have asthma (a doctor once told me it was exersize/allergy induced....) I was once on Omeprozole for my heartburn, but when I ran out, I never got my prescription filled. I take probiotics to see if that helps the heartburn, but it doesn't seem to work much anymore. I seem to notice my heartburn most after I have eaten my lunch (turkey and cheese on wheat bread) I am not sure what measures to take, I am starting to worry if this is doing permenant damage (to my esophagus, or other places) I am only 21, and I do not think this is normal for someone of my age. What do you think is wrong, and do you think I need to get any tests done? Thank you.

Doctor

A:   The main symptom you describe is constant and severe heartburn, and this may be due to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. It can occur in both children and adults, often when the lower oesophageal sphincter doesn’t work properly and acid from the stomach travels up the oesophagus, producing the symptoms of heartburn. Chronic GORD may lead to a change in the lining of the oesophagus over time, and in a few patients can become a pre-malignant condition. I would advise attending your family doctor for a detailed history and clinical examination. He may refer you to a gastroenterologist or for some investigations including endoscopy, oesophageal pH monitoring or a Barium swallow to rule out the above condition.

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