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Symptom checker

This is not a definitive list but shows the most commonly reported symptoms. Remember symptoms are not necessarily from acid/reflux. Discuss other possibilities with your doctor.

Possibly acid

Possibly reflux





Check heart

Burping or belching


Gnawing stomach pain


Many possibilities

Chest pain


Check heart


Many possibilities

Food sticking / swallowing problems

See Achalasia

Throat clearing / phlegm


Chronic cough


Check out other possibilities



Sour taste / excess saliva in mouth


Sleep apnoea / snoring


Post Nasal Drip / sniffing / sinusitis


Tooth erosion



Partial deafness / tinnitus / dizziness


Asthma / wheezing


Check out other possibilities

Lump in throat feeling (globus)


Bad breath


Sore throat


Dry eyes


Poor sense of smell


Appendix 2

NICE Option Grid for the treatment of long term heartburn.

(a copy may be downloaded at the foot of this page)

Treatment of long-term heartburn  Use this grid to help you and your healthcare professional talk about the options for treating heartburn that lasts longer than 4 weeks. 

 Frequently asked questions Proton pump inhibitor medication (PPI) Laparoscopic surgery (also known as keyhole surgery)
 Why would I be offered this treatment? If you have long-term heartburn lasting longer than 4 weeks, one possible treatment is to use medication called proton pump inhibitors (PPI). If treatment with PPI medication is not working or giving you problems, another possible treatment is laparoscopic surgery.
 What does the treatment involve? You take one or more tablets that reduce the amount of stomach acid every day for 4 or 8 weeks, and possibly longer. The operation makes it more difficult for acidic food to come up into the gullet (oesophagus) from the stomach. It is done under general anaesthetic. It takes a week or so to recover. Medication is not usually needed after surgery.
 How long will it take for the treatment to work? Most people's symptoms improve after a few days of starting this medication. Most people's symptoms improve soon after surgery. Swallowing may be uncomfortable for a few weeks, but this goes away.
 Will my symptoms get better? Heartburn symptoms get better in 60 to 90 people in every 100 (60-90%), but symptoms continue or come back in roughly 40 in every 100 people (40%). Symptoms get better in 90 to 95 patients in every 100 (90-95%). A small number of patients have no improvement.
 What are the risks of this treatment? Risks of serious harm are rare. As with any surgery, there is a risk of bleeding and infection. General anaesthetic can also be risky for some people. Surgery needs to be repeated in 4 to 6 people out of every 100 (4-6%).
 What are the side effects of this treatment? Roughly 7 in 100 of people (7%) have side effects from the medicine. The most common mild side effects are headache, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and increased gas. Problems after the surgery are common, but resolve after a few days. These can include temporary difficulty in swallowing in up to 50 in every 100 people (50%), shoulder pain in roughly 60 in every 100 people (60%), and problems with belching in up to 85 in every 100 people (85%).
 How long will it take me to recover from surgery? Does not apply. Recovery takes a week or two. Most people are able to go home on the day of the operation.

Editors: Kenneth Rudd, Victoria Thomas, Marie-Anne Durand, Laura Norburn, Toni Tan, John de Caestecker, Mimi McCord, Glyn Elwyn  

Evidence document:

Publication date: 3 September 2014 Expiry date: 3 September 2015  

ISBN: License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (International)

Download the most current version from: 

Based on NICE guideline 184: Dyspepsia and gastro-
oesophageal reflux disease.                                                
 NICE National Institute for
Health and Care Excellence
used with permission

Appendix 3

Help - where to find more information and get support

Barrett's Wessex is a regional support charity whosprincipal aim is "to reduce the number of deaths to oesophageal cancer through raising awareness of its predominant pre-cancerous lesion, Barrett's Oesophagus in Southampton, Wessex and beyond."

It has a very informative website at, a Facebook page /BarrettsWessex and a Twitter page @BarrettsWessex.

The charity holds regular drop-in meetings in Southampton at Haskins Garden Centre, Mansbridge Road, SO18 3HW on the first Thursday of each month between 2:00 and 4:00 pm and at Haskins Garden Centre, Ferndown, BH22 9DG on the first Wednesday of even numbered months between 2:00 and 4:00pm.

It offers telephone and text support on 07771 567009 and email support at

The Barrett's Oesophagus Campaign (BOC) is a national charity "working to prevent cancer of the gullet".

It has an informative website at, a Facebook page /BarrettsOesophagus and a Twitter page @BOCampaign and hosts an on-line forum at linked to from both their website and that of Barrett's Wessex.

BOC provides leaflets, "What is Barrett's Oesophagus" and "Treatments for Barrett's Oesophagus" downloadable from the Support/downloads page of their website, a telephone helpline on 020 7794 0500  Ext 23073 and email support at

Action Against Heartburn (AAH) is a consortium of the different charities promoting earlier diagnosis of oesophageal (gullet) cancer.

It runs awareness campaigns nationally and locally with the help of its constituent members, most of whom also provide their own support lines:

The Association of Upper GI Surgeons (AUGIS) - promoting establishment of high quality training programmes throughout the UK

Barrett's Oesophagus Campaign (BOC) - maintaining the UK Barrett's Registry, invaluable for researchers

Barrett's Wessex (BW) - the largest support charity for patients with Barrett's Oesophagus - covering Southampton, Wessex and beyond

Campaign Against Reflux Disease (CARD) - "Tackle Reflux disease early so that you don't have to tackle its complications later!"

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) - pioneering research to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

CORE charity - Raising awareness and funding research into gut and liver disease

Fighting Oesophageal Reflux Together (FORT) - working closely with experienced local and national clinicians to help patients by providing them with the best up-to-date information

The Gutsy Group - provides support for patients diagnosed with, or recovering from oesophageal cancer

Heartburn Cancer UK (HCUK) - offering support and information to sufferers of heartburn, Barrett's Oesophagus and cancer of the oesophagus.

The Humberside Oesophageal Support Group (HOSG) - aiming to help anyone with oesophageal problems.

The Michael Blake Foundation (MBF) - MBF exists to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer.

OCHRE charity - promoting awareness of oesophageal cancer amongst the public, professionals, politicians and patients

Oesophageal Patients Association (OPA) - run by experienced patients helping new patients diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer.

Oesophagoose (National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Awareness Campaign) - treating patients with oesophageal cancers it has developed an internationally recognised expertise.

Oxfordshire Oesophageal and Stomach Organisation (OOSO) - providing support for patients across the Oxfordshire region

The Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology (PCSG) - the voice of primary care gastroenterology that is listened to by those making decisions which affect primary care

More details are available on AAH website at

At the time of preparing this book, the author, Chris Robinson, was chairman of Barrett's Wessex, a trustee of BOC and a committee member of AAH.
Chris Robinson,
May 30, 2015, 6:01 AM