When discussing chronic acid reflux, or GERD, with your doctor, it’s best to ask questions and request clarification if you don’t fully understand something. We highly recommend you bring  a list of questions and plan to take written notes. Asking a family member or friend to go with you to listen and help with notes is also encouraged.

Below are some questions you may want to discuss with your doctor:

Questions about Acid Reflux / GERD

  • Do I have GERD or simply acid reflux?
  • What causes GERD?
  • What symptoms lead you to believe I have GERD?
  • Is my case mild, moderate, or severe?
  • What conditions separate from GERD could be agitating my symptoms?
  • Which tests do you recommend to diagnose GERD and why?
  • What complications can GERD lead to down the line?
  • Everyone’s anatomy is different. What are the chances my chronic GERD might progress to a more serious condition?

Questions about Treatment Options

  • What are the treatment options for GERD?
  • Which treatments do you recommend for me and why?
  • What are the benefits of my treatment options? The risks?
  • How long can I expect my GERD symptoms to last?
  • What can I expect the progression of my GERD to be over time?
  • What symptoms or signs should I look out for?
  • Do I have non-acid reflux?
  • Do I have a hiatal hernia? If so, what type and how large?

Questions about Lifestyle Changes

  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can incorporate to lessen my GERD symptoms? Which do you recommend first?
  • What foods should I eat to help control my symptoms?
  • What foods or substances should I avoid to manage my symptoms?
  • Will losing weight help my GERD?
  • Can sleeping with my head elevated help my nighttime symptoms?

Questions about Medical Therapy

  • When should I take antacid vs H2 blockers vs PPI’s?
  • What are the major differences between over the counter and prescription medications?
  • Do I need prescription medicine?
  • What is the best time of day to take my medication?
  • Can I take my medication as needed or do I have to taket routinely?
  • How long should I take medication for?
  • What side effects or risks can I expect?
  • Are there any medications that I am currently taking that can interact with the medications you may prescribe for GERD?
  • Are there any adverse effects of long-term use of PPIs?
  • Is it true that PPIs and other medication treatments can lose their effectiveness over time?
    What is the “rebound effect”?

Questions about Anti-reflux Procedures and Surgery

  • Is the TIF procedure or traditional antireflux surgery appropriate for me?
  • Is the TIF procedure or traditional antireflux surgery a better choice than taking over the counter and prescription medication regularly to treat GERD?
  • How does the TIF procedure differ from traditional surgeries?
  • What are the benefits? The risks?
  • How well do the TIF procedure and traditional antireflux surgeries work?
  • What has been your success rate with antireflux procedures?
  • What is the difference between a total and a partial fundoplication?
  • Will I ever need to have another procedure after the TIF procedure for reflux?
  • If I choose the TIF procedure now, will I still be eligible for traditional surgery later, if needed?
  • Of all the procedures and surgical techniques available, which do you offer?


References:

[1] Varin, O., et al. Total vs Partial Fundoplication in the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:A Meta-Analysis. Arch Surg. 2009; 144(3): 273-278.
[2] Jobe, B.A., et. al. Endoscopic Appraisal of the Gastroesophageal Valve After Antireflux Surgery. Am J of Gastro 2004.
[3] Little, A., et. al. Mechanisms of Action of Antireflux Surgery: Theory and Fact. World J of Surg. 1992;16:320-5.
[4] Nissen R, The Treatment of Hiatal Hernia and Esophageal Reflux by Fundoplication. Hernia 1964;30:488-496.
[5] Adler, R.H., et. al. A valve mechanism to prevent gastroesophageal reflux and esophagitis. Surgery 1958;44:63-75.