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Acid Reflux Symptoms

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What Makes Acid Reflux Symptoms Worse?

Certain foods can make the symptoms of acid reflux worse. To lessen your symptoms, try avoiding:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks or alcohol
  • Spicy, fatty, or fried foods
  • Garlic and onions
  • Peppermint
  • Tomatoes

 

Are There Potential Complications With Acid Reflux Symptoms?

Usually, acid reflux symptoms cause no complications. In a few cases, continued esophageal damage can lead to scarring, which may cause the esophagus to narrow. The narrowing creates strictures and makes it difficult to swallow. You may have dysphagia, a sensation that food is stuck in your esophagus. In some cases, cells in the lining of the esophagus develop an abnormal shape and color in response to the constant acid irritation. This is Barrett's esophagus, which can develop into cancer.

When Should I Call the Doctor With Acid Reflux Symptoms?

Be sure to call your doctor if you don't get lasting relief from medications. Also call the doctor if you have any "alarm" acid reflux symptoms, such as these:

  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Blood in vomit
  • Black, tarry, or maroon-colored stools
  • Difficulty or pain with swallowing

Other acid reflux symptoms that should prompt a call to your doctor include:

  • Asthma-like symptoms, such as wheezing or dry cough
  • Hoarseness, especially in the morning
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Hiccups that don't let up
  • Nausea that lasts for weeks or months

Sometimes, people confuse the symptoms of heart attack with symptoms of acid reflux disease. That's because pain in the chest can feel like heartburn. When in doubt, call your doctor.

Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms of heart attack:

  • Chest pain, pressure, or fullness lasting more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
  • Pain or discomfort in your neck, shoulder, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest pain
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea
  • Sweating along with chest pain

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 23, 2014
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