(386) 310-1334 or click here to
Get Started

GERD Symptoms & Complications

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common medical condition which affects millions of people in the United States. GERD is a disease characterized by stomach acid which is being regurgitated upwards into the esophagus. Over time, this can cause serious esophageal damage or even cancer. The symptoms of GERD can manifest in anyone from adults to children and babies. When it comes to severe cases of heartburn, it is important to make use of the available treatments like antacids to alleviate these symptoms.

GERD Symptoms in Adults

Adults with GERD generally experience the symptoms after eating a meal, lying on their backs, when bending over, or if they are lifting heavy objects. Also, the symptoms of GERD often become very pronounced during the night. This is a very common problem amongst pregnant women as well (more than 50 percent experience acid reflux and/or heartburn). For adults with GERD, they may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Regurgitation
  • Burping
  • Heartburn
  • Bad breath
  • Dysphagia (discomfort when swallowing, feeling of food stuck in esophagus)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea, particularly after eating
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Water brash (increased salivation)
  • Reflux esophagitis
  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  • Odynophagia (painful swallowing)
  • Esophageal strictures
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating of the stomach
  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Pharyngitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Chronic coughing
  • Choking feeling

Damage to the Esophagus

For most cases, GERD will not result in any other medical complications. On the other hand, if the esophagus is so damaged that it begins to scar, the esophagus may start to narrow and cause strictures. These limiting strictures can lead to dysphagia, a condition which will cause patients to feel like they have some piece of food stuck in their esophagus (this will make some swallowing painful and difficult). If the esophagus is damaged even further, it could develop Barrett’s esophagus. This will cause the esophagus to change in color and shape, and there is an elevated risk of cancer too.

Pediatric GERD Symptoms

As you may already know, newborns have underdeveloped digestive systems. This is why it is not uncommon for them to experience the symptoms of GERD, especially during the first few months. Most cases of pediatric GERD will go away on their own by the time the child hits twelve months. The symptoms of GERD that can present in children include:

  • Burping
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Bad breath
  • Spitting up
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Crying for milk or food, then refusing it, then crying for it again
  • Severe crying
  • Refusing milk or food
  • Failure to gain sufficient weight

If you experience any of the following symptoms, then please do not hesitate to seek additional medical assistance:

  • GERD symptoms more than twice each week
  • Blood in vomit
  • No relief from acid reflux drugs
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Black, tarry, bloody or dark red stools
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Unrelenting hiccups
  • Unrelenting nausea
  • Symptoms of a heart attack

Emergency Situations

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a person to mistake the signs of a heart attack for acid reflux. While these two medical conditions may share similar symptoms, a heart attack is potentially fatal and needs to be addressed ASAP. If you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, please call 911 emergency:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, fullness or pressure that lasts a few minutes or that goes away and recurs
  • Pain or discomfort in the neck, jaw or left shoulder
  • Sweating coinciding with chest pain
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea

GERD can be quite painful, but that doesn’t mean it should rule your life. There are a number of treatments and medications which could help to alleviate the symptoms of GERD. If you believe that you might be experiencing acid reflux and/or heartburn, then schedule an appointment with your health care provider today.