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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) - Symptoms

The main symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) include:

  • Persistent heartburn. Heartburn is an uncomfortable feeling or burning pain behind the breastbone. It may occur after you eat, soon after you lie down, or when you bend forward. Some people have GERD without heartburn.
  • A sour or bitter taste in the mouth. The backflow of stomach acid and juices into the esophagus may cause this sour or bitter taste.

Heartburn caused by GERD is usually felt within 2 hours after you eat. If your heartburn lasts for several hours—for example, all night—you may have severe GERD.

Recommended Related to Heartburn/GERD

Understanding Heartburn: Treatment

Your health care provider may suggest antacids for occasional heartburn. Sometimes, more potent medications such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors may be needed, especially for persistent symptoms. Both prescription and over-the-counter choices are available. Rarely, surgery is recommended to prevent reflux and heartburn. The primary objective of treatment is to identify the cause of the heartburn so it can be avoided in the future. Over-the-counter antacids are commonly used to neutralize...

Read the Understanding Heartburn: Treatment article > >

Other symptoms of GERD may include:

  • Chest pain. This may be a dull, heavy discomfort that spreads across the chest. This chest pain may occur with heartburn and may be confused with the pain of a heart attack.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Trouble swallowing. This is more common with advanced GERD.
  • A feeling that you have something stuck in your throat.
  • A cough.
  • Having extra saliva.
  • Nausea.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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