GERD / Acid Reflux Symptoms
persistent heartburn is the most common symptom of
GERD, other symptoms include:
- a sour or bitter liquid coming into in
the mouth (also known as "regurgitation" or
- difficulty swallowing or painful
swallowing, especially with dry bread or
poorly chewed food
- chest pain, which may be confused with
the pain of a heart attack
- throat problems, such as laryngitis, sore
throat, feeling of fullness in the throat,
choking at night and altered voice
- lung problems, which might include
wheezing, frequent pneumonia, damaged airways
or chronic asthma.
- infants with GERD
may fail to gain weight
or develop more slowly or they may have
recurrent respiratory problems
Understanding the causes of GERD
is helped by
understanding the normal protective mechanisms
involved in preventing acid from refluxing into
the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter must
have sufficient length below the diaphragm and
muscle tone to prevent the backwash of acid into
the esophagus. The normal sphincter also must have
normal episodes of relaxation, which does allow
ingested air to be eliminated (i.e. belching).
healthy esophagus should also be able to "clear"
the acid by regular contractions and by
neutralizing the acid with alkaline saliva.
Additionally, the stomach must empty properly. If
any of these mechanisms is altered or abnormal,
then acid can wash back up into the esophagus and
cause heartburn or other symptoms.