Harvard Men's Health Watch

Chronic heartburn: Do you need an endoscopy?

Before your doctor takes a "just in case" look down your throat for trouble, make sure you really need this procedure.

One in five men has felt the burning discomfort of heartburn in the past month, and for many men it is a chronic malady requiring daily medication. For a variety of reasons, those with chronic heartburn end up having one or more endoscopies, in which a doctor uses a flexible lighted instrument to check for trouble down below in the esophagus.

Who with chronic heartburn really needs an endoscopy—and why? For insights and an update on the latest medical guidelines, we asked Dr. Kunal Jajoo, an endoscopist and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. Even in an age when unnecessary tests and procedures are all too common, endoscopy can be beneficial to men with chronic heartburn—but only if they really need it. "Heartburn in and of itself doesn't require endoscopy," Dr. Jajoo says. "But if you have other symptoms definitely discuss them with your doctor."

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