Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Heartburn
GERD symptoms can occur at any time. However, they usually occur after overeating, or lying down after a big meal. Symptoms may last for a few minutes or a few hours.
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The most common symptoms of GERD include:
- Heartburn—a burning feeling that starts in the lower chest and may move up the throat
Frequent, persistent, recurrent, or chronic indigestion. Symptoms of indigestion include:
- Upper abdominal pain or discomfort following a meal
- Burping, bloating, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting
- Regurgitation of stomach contents into the back of the mouth or throat
- Sour or bitter taste in the back of mouth or throat
Other symptoms of GERD may include:
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Chronic cough
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Feeling of a lump in the throat
- Difficulty or painful swallowing
- Chest pain Note: GERD can feel like the pain associated with a heart attack. Do not assume that chest pain is GERD or indigestion. If you have chest pains or other symptoms of a possible heart attack, call for medical help immediately for emergency medical care.
- Recurrent vomiting or failure to thrive in infants
Long-term complications of GERD may include:
- Esophagitis—inflammation of the esophagus
- Bleeding and ulcers in the esophagus
- Dental problems, which may occur because of the effect of stomach acid on tooth enamel
- Chronic laryngitis
- Asthma attacks and/or pneumonia—during sleep acid refluxes from the stomach into the throat, then drains into the lungs, causing irritation
- Barrett’s esophagus—a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer
- Esophageal cancer—may develop in patients who have Barrett’s esophagus
- Daus Mahnke, MD
- Reviewed: 03/2014
- Updated: 05/08/2014
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