The major or typical symptom of GERD is heartburn, but this can vary among individuals. GERD symptoms fall on a spectrum: for some they are mild or silent, and for others they can be severe. Heartburn is the feeling described as stomach contents and acid travel up into the chest area. The mildest symptoms may be just a slight sense of uneasiness and burning in the chest that occurs only after meals. You might experience a sour taste in your mouth or have bad breath caused by repeated small amounts of acid coming back up into the mouth. A burning sensation behind the breastbone in the chest can be accompanied by a feeling of nausea or uneasiness. Some people experience a burning or a gnawing discomfort in the pit of their stomachs. In severe cases, GERD can cause pain that may be mistaken for a heart attack.
One symptom patients find very disturbing is regurgitation of stomach contents and acid. This can manifest as burping with a bitter taste in the mouth. The most severe type of regurgitation is when you wake at night choking after you have regurgitated a large amount of fluid and inhaled it into your lungs. This can result in shortness of breath, choking, coughing, worsening chronic lung disease, or even pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
Painful or difficult swallowing is not uncommon and warrants a doctor's evaluation. Repeated regurgitation
The major symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, sour taste in your mouth, and painful or difficult swallowing.
of acid contents can inflame the lining of the esophagus and cause ulcers or other irritation. Swallowed food passes through irritated areas and can cause pain. When the irritated areas heal, these damaged cells are replaced but scarring may result in narrowing of the esophagus, a condition called a stricture or lower esophageal ring. This narrowing of the esophagus can cause difficulty swallowing, and you might experience it as the sensation of food becoming stuck in your throat or chest.
Many different factors can contribute to the development and presence of acid reflux.
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