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. People who have possible symptoms of GERD should seek medical care.

Heartburn

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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
  • Symptoms worsen when bending over, lying down, exercising, or lifting heavy objects

Other symptoms of GERD may include:

  • Sore throat or earache
  • Bad breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic cough
  • Choking
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling of a lump in the throat
  • Hoarse voice ( laryngitis )
  • 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 911 immediately for emergency medical care.
  • Sleep apnea (stopping breathing repeatedly throughout the night)
  • 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 (due to the effect of stomach acid on tooth enamel)
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Asthma attacks and/or pneumonia (During sleep, acid may reflux from the stomach into the throat, drain into the lungs, and cause irritation.)
  • Barrett’s esophagus – a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer – may develop in patients who have Barrett’s esophagus