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6 Common Signs of Acid Reflux

6 Common Signs of Acid Reflux

Chronic acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a widespread digestive issue, and experts estimate that it affects approximately 20% of people in the United States. With acid reflux and GERD, the stomach contents of gastric secretions and food flow back into the esophagus. 

When you experience acid reflux at least two times a week for several weeks, it’s no longer a one-off reaction to a rich meal. Your acid reflux is considered chronic and is called GERD.

Recognizing the symptoms of GERD is the first step toward managing and treating this condition effectively. Without treatment, GERD can cause inflammation and permanent irritation. You may develop complications like esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal ulcers. It can also irritate asthma symptoms and disrupt your sleep.

Dr. Bharat Pothuri of GastroDoxs says to look for these six signs of acid reflux and to seek a consultation if they’re chronic. 

1. Heartburn

One of the hallmark symptoms of acid reflux is heartburn. It's that burning sensation in your chest that often occurs after a meal, especially when lying down. This happens when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus causing irritation and discomfort.

2. Regurgitation

Regurgitation is the feeling of stomach contents, including acid, coming back up into your throat or mouth. It can leave a sour taste in your mouth and may be accompanied by a burning sensation. This symptom can be quite unpleasant and is a clear sign of acid reflux.

3. Chest pain

The chest pain associated with acid reflux can sometimes be so intense that it’s mistaken for a heart-related issue. Reflux-related chest pain is typically a burning or squeezing sensation in the lower chest area. 

Chest pain from a heart attack usually occurs in the center or left side of the chest, and it feels like fullness or squeezing. Heart attack symptoms may also be accompanied by sweating, pain in the jaw, neck or shoulders, and shortness of breath. Seek immediate care if you’re concerned that you’re having a heart attack.

4. Difficulty swallowing

Acid reflux can lead to a condition called dysphagia, which causes difficulty in swallowing. It may feel like food is getting stuck in your throat, and you might need to drink water to help it go down. This symptom should not be ignored, as it can indicate more severe reflux problems.

5. Chronic cough

A chronic cough, especially when it's worse at night or early in the morning, can be a subtle sign of acid reflux. Stomach acid irritates the airways, leading to persistent coughing and sometimes even asthma-like symptoms.

6. Hoarseness and sore throat

If you find yourself frequently clearing your throat or experiencing a persistent sore throat, it could be due to acid reflux. Stomach acid can flow into the throat, causing irritation and hoarseness.

Don’t ignore the signs of acid reflux, especially when they occur regularly. Without treatment, GERD can lead to complications over time. Early diagnosis and proper management can help prevent these complications and improve your quality of life. Call GastroDoxs in Houston, Texas, or use this website to schedule your first consultation.

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