Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Regular heartburn is the main symptom of GERD. Heartburn is a feeling of burning behind the breastbone. It can occur at anytime, but is often aggravated by overeating or lying down after a big meal. Many also have regurgitation, a feeling of food and fluid moving back up the throat or into the mouth.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
The fluids from the stomach can cause:
- Sour or bitter taste in the back of mouth or throat
- Feeling of a lump in the throat
- Bad breath
The regular reflux of stomach acid can cause irritation of the tissue and other structures of the throat. This irritation can lead to other symptoms, such as:
- Sore throat
- Chronic laryngitis
- Chronic cough
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Excessive clearing of throat
Infants with GERD may also have recurrent vomiting. This can affect their ability to get proper nutrition and slow growth and development.
Long-term complications of GERD may include:
- Inflammation of the esphagus—esophagitis
- Bleeding and ulcers in the esophagus
- Narrowing of the esophagus—esophageal stricture
- Dental problems, which may occur because of the effect of stomach acid on tooth enamel
- Asthma attacks
- During sleep, acid refluxes from the stomach into the throat, then drains into the lungs—aspiration pneumonia
- A precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer— Barrett’s esophagus
- Esophageal cancer
The muscles of the esophagus can tighten or spasm. This can cause pain that radiates through the chest and back, similar to how a heart attack may feel. Do not assume that chest pain is an esophageal spasm.
If you have chest pains or other symptoms of a possible heart attack, call for emergency medical services right away.
- Squeezing or chest pressure
- Pain in the left shoulder, left arm, or jaw
- Trouble breathing
- Sweating, clammy skin
- Pain that starts during activity or stress
- Feeling of impending doom
- Daus Mahnke, MD
- Reviewed: 06/2016
- Updated: 05/20/2015
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Henry Ford Allegiance Health or performed by Henry Ford Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.