Self Diagnosing Can Be Dangerous
With the plethora of over the counter acid reflux medications and the over advertising of them it can be tempting to self-diagnose your condition. Even on the manufacturers labeling you are told to contact your doctor if symptoms persist after two weeks of treatment with their medication. Unfortunately, many people do not do this and instead continue to self-diagnose and self-medicate.
The problem with this era of over the counter medicines is that it allows us to cover up symptoms that might need further investigation. Acid reflux seems like such a minor thing to most people but it can cause serious problems. Untreated or improperly treated acid reflux can lead to esophagitis, painful damage to the esophagus, strictures, and over a long period of time can cause precancerous changes like Barrett’s Esophagus.
Covering up the symptoms can also mask other diseases. It could be that you already have Barrett’s but it is missed because you self diagnosed and self treated. Or the symptoms may be from something altogether different. Gallbladder disease, for example, can also have similar symptoms as first. Chest pain and nausea can also be symptoms of heart disease not only acid reflux.
So, the take away from all of this is simple. Be careful about self diagnosing and self medicating. If your symptoms persist or don’t completely resolve with over the counter treatments you need to seek the advice of a physician. A little common sense and knowing when to bring in the pros will save you a lot of pain in the long run.