Understanding GERD -- Symptoms
What Are the Symptoms of GERD?
Chronic acid reflux leads to uncomplicated GERD, but not everyone with GERD
has heartburn. The primary symptoms of GERD are heartburn, regurgitation, and
Heartburn usually is described as a burning pain in the middle of the chest.
It may start high in the abdomen or may extend up into the neck. Sometimes the
pain may be sharp or pressure-like, rather than burning. Such pain can mimic
heart pain (angina). In other patients, the pain may extend to the back.
Typically heartburn related to GERD is seen more commonly after a meal. Other
symptoms of GERD include:
Hoarseness. If acid reflux gets past the upper esophageal sphincter, it can
enter the throat (pharynx) and even the voice box (larynx), causing hoarseness
or a sore throat.
- Sore throat
- Chronic dry cough, especially at night. GERD is a common cause of
unexplained coughing. It is not clear how cough is caused or aggravated by
- Asthma. Some of these nerves that are stimulated by the refluxed acid
stimulate the nerves to the lungs, which then can cause the smaller
breathing tubes to narrow, resulting in an attack of asthma.
- Feeling as if there is a lump in your throat
- Bad breath
- Chest pain/discomfort
In infants and children, GERD can produce these symptoms:
- Recurrent vomiting
- Breathing problems
- A failure to thrive
Call Your Doctor About GERD If:
- You take over-the-counter medicine for heartburn more than twice a week,
or your heartburn symptoms persist after you take the drug.
- You need to take medications for more than three weeks to control
heartburn and indigestion.
- Your symptoms also include weight loss, difficulty or pain swallowing,
dark-colored stools, or vomiting.
WebMD Medical Reference
SOURCES: Last Editorial Review: 12/23/2011 4:15:03 PM
National Digestive Diseases Information
Clearinghouse. Merck Medicus.
Reviewed by Venkat Mohan, MD on November 02, 2010
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