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Top 5 Most Surprising GERD Symptoms

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Posted by Frank K. Friedenberg, MD, MS (Epi)

You may have heard of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, a common condition sometimes associated with heartburn or a burning sensation in the back of the throat. But you may not know GERD can also have a number of surprising symptoms that may be mistaken for other conditions.

1. Chest Pain That Lasts

GERD can cause chest pain that mimics a heart attack. Described as a squeezing pressure behind the breast bone, GERD-related chest pain can last for hours. And like a heart attack, it can also radiate down your arm to your back.

2. Could Be Asthma, Could Be GERD

When you have GERD, there is always the possibility of breathing stomach acid into your lungs. When this happens, asthma or other breathing problems can develop.

3. Laryngitis – The Voice Box Dilemma

Acid reflux associated with GERD can lead to swelling in your voice box. You may temporarily lose your voice as a result.

4. Not-So-Fresh Breath

Regurgitation of stomach contents into your esophagus can cause you to have a sour taste in your mouth. As a result, you may experience bad breath.

5. Losing One’s Lunch

Although less common, vomiting can occur with GERD. Beware of vomit that is green or yellow in color or looks like coffee grounds, as this may indicate bile or blood.

Because GERD can lead to more serious problems, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist (GI), who specializes in digestive diseases. You may be prescribed medicine to help relieve your symptoms. Your GI may also advise you on the following:

  • Eat small, frequent meals

  • Elevate your head while sleeping

  • Quit smoking

If you experience symptoms of GERD more than two times a week, consider an evaluation.

Request an appointment online with a gastroenterologist or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536).

Frank K. Friedenberg, MD, MS (Epi)

Frank K. Friedenberg, MD, MS (Epi), is Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Temple University Hospital, and a Professor of Medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Dr. Friedenberg specializes in IBD and is consistently named one of the Best Doctors in America. An active clinician and researcher, Dr. Friedenberg has numerous publications to his credit, and his clinical and research interests include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

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