Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. This chronic condition occurs when stomach acid and contents flow back up into the esophagus, causing discomfort and damage to the lining of the esophagus.
Symptoms of GERD can vary from mild to severe and can negatively impact quality of life. Given how the symptoms of GERD can often be misdiagnosed, it’s helpful to research this information online before consulting a doctor.
One of the most common symptoms of GERD is heartburn, which is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest that often occurs after eating or when lying down. Heartburn is caused by the acid refluxing back into the esophagus and can be exacerbated by certain foods and beverages, such as coffee, alcohol, and spicy or fatty foods.
Regurgitation is another common symptom of GERD and refers to the feeling of acid or food coming back up into the mouth or throat. This can be accompanied by a sour or bitter taste and may occur after meals, when lying down, or when bending over.
In addition to heartburn, some people with GERD may experience chest pain or discomfort, which can be mistaken for a heart attack. Chest pain associated with GERD is typically located behind the breastbone and may be triggered by eating or lying down.
GERD can cause a narrowing of the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow. This can result in a sensation of food getting stuck in the throat, and may be accompanied by coughing or choking.
A chronic cough that persists for more than 8 weeks is another common symptom of GERD. The cough may be dry or accompanied by mucus, and may worsen at night or after eating.
Hoarseness or Sore Throat
GERD can cause inflammation and irritation in the throat, leading to hoarseness or a sore throat. This may be accompanied by a feeling of tightness or lump in the throat.
Some people with GERD may experience asthma-like symptoms, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. This is due to the irritation of the airways by the acid refluxing into the esophagus.
The acid in the stomach can also cause dental problems, such as erosion of the enamel and tooth decay. This is because the acid can erode the protective layer of the teeth, making them more vulnerable to damage.
Nausea or Vomiting
In some cases, GERD can cause nausea or vomiting, especially after meals or when lying down. This can be a result of the acid irritating the stomach and causing discomfort.
Many people with GERD experience sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or waking up in the middle of the night due to discomfort. This can have a significant impact on overall quality of life.
Speak With Your Doctor
GERD can be a very uncomfortable condition to deal with, but it can often be managed with the right lifestyle changes and treatments.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if you have GERD or another underlying condition, and provide you with guidance on the best course of treatment. By being proactive about managing your symptoms, you can take control of your health and start feeling better.