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Symptoms of GERD

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Updated April 09, 2014

Heartburn and acid regurgitation are the main symptoms GERD, though some people have GERD without heartburn. To learn the symptoms of heartburn, check out the article on symptoms of heartburn.

Other symptoms of GERD can be:

Pain in the chest
This pain usually starts behind the breastbone (the sternum), and may travel up to the throat. It usually occurs shortly after eating, and can last from a few minutes to several hours. It is important to remember that sometimes the pain of a heart attack can be confused with the burning pain of GERD, and it is always important to seek medical attention if there is any doubt as to the origin of this chest pain.

Hoarseness in the morning
Irritation caused by refluxed stomach acid into the throat can lead to hoarseness.

Difficulty swallowing
Trouble with swallowing (dysphagia) occurs when food does not pass normally from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach. There may be a sensation of food sticking in the throat, chest pressure or "burning" after eating, or a feeling of choking. Difficulty swallowing could be a sign of various conditions, including erosive esophagitis and esophageal cancer, and should always be evaluated by a physician.

May feel like food is stuck in the throat
There may be a sensation of food sticking in the throat, chest pressure or "burning" after eating, or a feeling of choking. Difficulty swallowing could be a sign of various conditions, including erosive esophagitis, and should always be evaluated by a physician.

Persistent dry cough
In some studies, GERD accounted for about 41% of cases of chronic cough in nonsmoking patients. If refluxed stomach acid is aspirated, it can cause coughing.

Bad breath
When acid from the stomach comes up into the throat and mouth an acrid smelling, bad breath.

Source:

"Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)." NIH Publication No. 07–0882 May 2007. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). 7 Jan 2008.

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