Reflux or GERD shows itself with a number of different symptoms which make the life of the sufferer very hard. Many of these are not easy to link to the actual cause, and this makes many of the individuals feel that they are inflicted with a life threatening illness or experiencing a heart attack. Although some of the long term effects of these symptoms can actually turn into a serious condition, most of them can be diagnosed and controlled with some medication and certain life changes.
1. General pain in the chest areas
Sometimes mild heartburn presents itself in a form of light pain in the general chest area. For some reason it is not yet causing major inflammation or burning to the tissue but the presence of the acid will create such an effect. Since the body’s main defense mechanism is to produce additional saliva, watch for whether you are salivating more as this pain comes about. The saliva’s job is to travel down the back of the throat and neutralize the acid and it does so well when the immune system is working properly.
2. Burning pain in the upper chest as if you are having a heart attack
Even though it feels as if you are having a heart attack, the most common explanation for this phenomenon is actually heartburn. You might experience shortness of breath and a pulsating pain which will for the most part make you think that it has something to do with your heart. As the acid makes its way up the esophagus, it burns everything in its path and this racks havoc on the tissue and nerves in your chest area. It is best to get your doctor to perform a diagnosis to make sure what the cause of it actually is.
3. Chronic sore throat/mouth
Also known as Barrett’s esophagus it is most often caused by GERD. There is a part right above your stomach which is called the lower esophageal sphincter or (LES) and its job is to keep food from coming back up to your throat. When the LES is malfunctioning of relaxed for some reason this changes and the food along with the acid comes up to the throat. As the esophagus is not meant to deal with acid it might start changing its lining to one that resembling what could be found in the intestines. A prolonged exposure to the acid in the throat can lead to cancer and should be taken very seriously. The main problem with this one is that a lot of the time the sore throat can be coincided with a flu or seem like a chronic sickness and the wrong drugs are taken for it. A common doctor without digging deeper might simply prescribe an antibiotic which will do nothing to stop the cause and might actually worsen this condition.
4. Voice change
Another quite common symptoms due to the acid that erode the vocal chords which are located in the throat area. The voice can become raspy, and hoarse and the changes could be either short term or life lasting depending on the length, damage and amount of exposure to the acid. This symptom usually does not happen overnight and will have a bit of a lead up to it. You might have to clear your throat a lot and feel as if there is something stuck in it for quite some time before the voice change allows to happen. Much of the damage happens during the night and keeping your head elevated while you sleep might help stop this symptom from happening. Left alone this could easily develop into acid laryngitis.
5. Nausea and/or vomiting
This will be very common in the early morning as you just wake up. You might feel nauseous or like throwing up and if you do you will notice a lot of yellow and dark build up within the bile which burns your throat as it is coming up. This is actually the acid and while vomiting your are burning your throat which can then lead to more serious symptoms such as chronic sore throat and voice change.
6. Constant hiccupping and/or belching
One of the major side effects of indigestion which is a digestive disorder. There are elimination diets which can help you find out what food is not really working for you along with lists of foods that increase the odds of heartburn. Passing gas a lot is common as well but not as dangerous since at that point the problem is in your intestines and poses no risk of the acid coming up to your esophagus.
7. Dry cough and/or hard time breathing
Once the throat starts to erode it might become inflamed and contract which will cause a person breathing problems. Saliva is often produced to counter act the effects of these symptoms but things such as alcohol or cigarettes actually reduce the production of saliva which can cause dry cough as well. It is very important for anyone with GERD to keep properly hydrated and drink the required amount of water per day.
8. The feeling of food stuck in the throat and/or hard time swallowing
This symptom is a bit hard to explain but numerous individuals experience it and it might have to do with the nerves and erosion of the esophagus.
9. Disruptions of sleep
As reflux often attacks the person during the night this can cause sleeping disorders. You might feel a sour stomach, burning sensation, dry cough or simply wake up without knowing why.
10. Rancid taste of acid in the mouth
One of the main signs that you are experiencing acid reflux is a sour or acid taste in the back of the throat. It might happen in the morning or after eating certain foods and should be approached with caution. This can be one of the clearest signs that there is a problem and following it will lead you to the cause of all of these unpleasant acid reflux symptoms.