Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux is a common problem that many people suffer with regularly but some of the symptoms associated with this condition may surprise you. Most everyone knows that heartburn is a sign of acid reflux. It occurs when the gastric juices that contain acid go from your stomach back up in your esophagus, which causes a burning sensation in the chest and throat. When this occurs twice or more a week, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Some acid reflux symptoms are less obvious because they mimic symptoms created by other medical conditions. For this reason, patients may believe that the problems they’re having is caused by something else when in reality, treating the gastroesophageal reflux would give them relief. Here are some of the main symptoms to look for that mimic other medical conditions.
According to Mayo Clinic, “Heartburn and chest pain are very different but can feel very much the same.” They go on to say that you need to learn the difference between the two, so you’ll know when to seek medical help.
The pain is the result of the stomach acid splashing up into the esophagus and it can be extremely painful. It can also last for a long time, which can be very scary when you don’t know for sure what’s causing the pain.
If the pain gets worse when you lie down, it’s probably gastroesophageal reflux disease because lying down allows the acid to escape the stomach easier than when you’re sitting upright. If at any time, you’re not sure what’s causing the pain or if it gets worse with physical activity, see your doctor to be safe. Never just assume it’s acid reflux.
A Bad Taste in Your Mouth and Dental Erosion
When the stomach acid goes up the esophagus and makes its way all the way to the back of your throat, it can leave a bad taste in your mouth that’s bitter in nature. It can make your food taste bad, too. When these acids travel back up into your mouth it can cause dental erosion to occur. If you’re having dental problems and you think you have acid reflux, talk to your doctor.
The Cleveland Clinic reports, “It is estimated that more than 75 percent of patients with asthma also experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).” The coughing and wheezing caused from the burning sensation can trigger asthma attacks but many people don’t make the connection between the two. It’s also believed that the stomach acid can cause certain nerves in your chest to tighten around the breathing tubes to help keep the acid out, which can also trigger an attack.
Problems Swallowing and Choking
If you’re having problems swallowing and you sometimes feel like your food is stuck in your throat, it could be a symptom of acid reflux. Over time, scarring and swelling can occur in the lower part of the esophagus due to the stomach acid moving up the tube and this can make it difficult to swallow.
A person suffering from severe gastroesophageal reflux can also experience choking. When this occurs regularly especially when you’re sleeping, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your doctor. He may be able to prescribe you something to help.
Many people think they’re coming down with the flu or a bad cold when their voice becomes hoarse, they start coughing or when they have a sore throat but these can also be symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. If you suffer from these symptoms after meals and then they go away, it’s a good chance they’re coming from this condition and not a cold.
Feeling sick to your stomach can also be associated with cold and flu symptoms and many other conditions including acid reflux. If you only feel nausea after you eat and you don’t have any other symptoms, then it may be a sign of this condition.
Many people suffer with gastroesophageal reflux for years instead of seeking treatment that can help them feel better, partly because they don’t recognize these less obvious symptoms. Not only is it uncomfortable to live with this condition but when left untreated, it can eventually cause other serious problems.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms talk to your doctor. He can help you determine if gastroesophageal reflux is causing your symptoms or if it’s some other medical condition. If acid reflux is the culprit, he can help you determine the best course of action to help treat your problem so you can begin feeling better.