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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) -- Symptoms

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What Are the Symptoms of GERD?

Not everyone with GERD has heartburn, but the primary symptoms of GERD are heartburn, regurgitation, and an acid taste in the mouth.

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 the neck or back. Sometimes the pain may be sharp or pressure-like, rather than burning. Such pain can mimic heart pain (angina). Typically, heartburn related to GERD is seen more commonly after a meal. Other symptoms of GERD include:

Understanding GERD

  • 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 sore throat.
  • Laryngitis.
  • 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 GERD.
  • Asthma. Refluxed acid can worsen asthma by irritating the airways. And asthma and the medications used to treat it can make GERD worse.
  • Feeling as if there is a lump in your throat.
  • Sudden increase of saliva.
  • Bad breath.
  • Earaches.
  • Chest pain/discomfort. Seek immediate emergency medical help (Call 911) for any chest pain.

In infants and children, GERD can produce these symptoms:


Call Your Doctor About GERD If:

  • You regularly need to take over-the-counter medicine for heartburn or your heartburn symptoms persist after taking the drug
  • Your symptoms also include weight loss, difficulty or pain when swallowing, dark-colored stools, or vomiting

Seek immediate emergency medical help (Call 911) for any chest pain or breathing problems.



WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on March 03, 2015
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