Do you have a sore throat or a cough?! Is it cold or flu? Or, is it Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or what we commonly know as Heartburn?!
Do you feel a pain in the middle of the chest more often?! Is it a heart attack or it’s GERD?!
The symptoms of GERD or Acid Reflux can be pretty confusing at times as its quite similar to the symptoms of few others common medical issues that we face on a regular basis. This sometimes makes it a bit difficult to know exactly, if you are suffering from GERD or something else.
But don’t you worry, because we are doing to deal with this in every possible detail. After this article, you will be a pro in differentiating your symptoms and treat accordingly.
If you have read my previous post on causes of heartburn or acid reflux, then you must be very much aware of the main culprit of the problem, which is a malfunctioning LES, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter.
To give you a short recap, LES is a valve located at the lower point of your esophagus where it meets the stomach. The man function of the LES valve is to open up and let the food you eat into your stomach for further digestion. It then closes back tightly to prevent any reflux of the stomach’s acidic content back into your esophagus. It’s only when this LES becomes weak, and doesn’t close tightly enough, all the problem arises. As a result of the LES not closing properly, the stomach acid moves back into your esophagus. This is when you experience all the nasty and unpleasant symptoms of GERD!
The initial symptoms may be a bad breath or flood of excess saliva in your mouth. This happens as your salivary glands reacts by secreting saliva, a natural antacid, to neutralize the acidic flow in your esophagus. You may also get the some acidic liquids coming out of your food pipe into your mouth. They are usually whitish in color and distinguished by their nasty and bitter taste. You may also get wet burps.
The next common symptoms are coughing & sore throat. You also feel like clearing your throat frequently and suffer from chronic laryngitis, characterized by hoarseness or loss of voice or wheezing. This happens when the acidic content can bounce all the way up into your esophagus, your food pipe and spill over into your trachea, which is your air pipe. This crossover reflux may create problem in your respiratory system. This takes place particularly when you go to sleep after a meal. It’s sometimes labeled as the nighttime reflux.
As you lie down, your stomach is positioned above your esophagus, thus making the acidic content of your stomach flow easily from your stomach, through your lazy LES, into the food pipe and then to your trachea, causing the damage. Changing your sleeping position or avoiding lying with a full stomach can prevent this nighttime reflux. Sometimes you may feel like something is stuck in your throat. This is when you feel the need of clearing it up very often.
An unusual symptom can be an earache. This happens when the acidic fluid reflux back to your mouth and enter the Eustachian tubes, thus impacting your ears, causing you the earache!
Another of the unusual GERD symptom is when you may also suffer from tooth erosion. When the acidic flow frequently rises up to the mouth, it may affect your teeth by damaging the enamel and making them weaker, as the acidic stomach fluids are quite corrosive in nature.
One of the most common symptoms of GERD is heartburn. Though studies points outs that not everyone suffering from GERD, experience heartburn. But if you are someone who is experiencing the heartburn more than twice a week, it’s most likely that you may be suffering from GERD.
Heartburn actually hurts pretty badly. It’s a pain right in the middle of the chest. But this pain mimics the pain of a heart attack close enough, causing a little bit of confusion. Let’s try to differentiate these two pains, so that you know what exactly is happening. It’s very important to gets this right because heartburn is usually not fatal, but in case if it’s a heart attack, you need to get medical assistance as soon as possible!
Heartburn pains are sharp but can be relieved quickly by antacids or home remedies. It may usually follow a meal or may be related to a position, like lying down or bending.
But the pain of heart attacks is intense and prolonged. It cannot be relieved by antacids or home remedies. The pain radiates to the neck, jaw or upper arms, especially to the left arm). This is associated with serious symptoms heaviness in the chest and lightheadedness, shortness of breath, nausea or heavy sweating. If someone experiences any of these signs, then he or she should immediately call for medical help.
If the pain persists for a longer period of time, you should consult the doctor to get diagnosed.
The bad news is that there are many who just ignores their GERD, or Acid Reflux symptoms which is a serious mistake. GERD, if left untreated for a longer period of time and not taken care of, may cause a series of serious issues later.
Here are few of the severe complications of constant heartburn or GERD!
With regular attacks of acid reflux, there is reddening and inflammation of the esophagus, which if not treated soon will lead wearing away of the esophagus lining, causing Esophageal ulcers and bleeding. This esophageal bleeding is a serious red-flag for you, as this may further lead to Esophageal stricture (a narrowing of the tube), that causes grievous damage to the esophagus wall muscles. This narrowing of your food pipe will make the process of swallowing really difficult for you. You may also feel a choking sensation whenever you eat, as the esophagus wall is not able to do its job to pushing the food down properly, due to the damage done to it by the acid reflux. And all these if left unattended, may ultimately lead to precancerous changes in the esophageal lining, leading to Esophageal cancer!
So the best way to avoid all these is to never ignore the symptoms of GERD and take care of your heartburn as soon as possible. It’s much easier to deal with GERD or acid reflux in the early stages, than to be dealing with esophageal cancer later. Eat healthy. Drink a lot of water. Avoid habits that irritates the esophagus (like smoking and alcohol), and you will be good. We will be discussing a lot of natural and holistic effective ways to treat this problem, and relief you from all the pains and unnecessary problems.
Here is a video for you that help you to understand this problem of GERD even better!
Coming up will more awesome and useful contents for you. Till then, Stay healthy! 🙂