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. People who have possible symptoms of GERD should seek medical care.
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
- Chronic cough
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- 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
American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.
The Merck Manual of Medical Information . 17th edition. Simon and Schuster, Inc.; 2000.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 7, 2006.
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.ctsnet.org/ . Accessed March 7, 2006.
Last reviewed November 2008 by ]]>Daus Mahnke, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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