What are the common symptoms of GERD?

Common Symptoms of GERD:

  • heartburn: a burning feeling in your chest after eating
  • regurgitation: movement of the stomach contents back into your throat
  • frequent belching

Less Common Symptoms of GERD:

  • dysphagia: feeling a lump in your throat when you swallow
  • water brash: increased amount of saliva
  • odynophagia: sharp pain in your chest when eating or drinking

Not everyone who has GERD experiences the same symptoms. In addition, your symptoms may come and go for no apparent reason or improve with medication but return when you stop taking it. What's important is identifying your particular symptoms and their severity. Without treatment, GERD may worsen and damage your esophagus.

  • Heartburn feels like a burning sensation in the middle of your chest that can travel up your neck and into your mouth. You may also feel it in your back or have a sour taste in your mouth. Although it may be difficult to tell the difference between heartburn and the chest pain associated with heart disease, known as angina, there are important distinctions. Chest pain that occurs because of angina often worsens with exercise and goes away during rest. However, chest pain caused by heartburn is usually not associated with exercise or physical activity. Heartburn due to GERD usually occurs within 30 to 60 minutes of eating. It also may occur when bending over or lying down after eating. You may notice that your heartburn is worse when you lie in bed at night. Still, talk to your doctor about these symptoms - don't take any chances with chest pain.
  • Regurgitation is the movement of food and liquids back into your throat after you've swallowed, without vomiting or feeling nauseous.
  • Belching occurs when you expel gas from your stomach through your mouth. It will be more frequent with GERD.

Less Common Symptoms of GERD

Twenty-five percent of all people with GERD have symptoms that don't seem related to GERD. This is especially true if you're older than 65. If you have any of the following symptoms, see your doctor right away for a proper diagnosis:


  • the feeling of having a lump in your throat when you swallow, called dysphagia. It can occur when food or liquids stick in your esophagus after you swallow
  • the feeling of having a lump in your throat even when you are not swallowing, called globus
  • an increase in the amount of saliva, called water brash. It literally seems as if you are foaming at the mouth, and the saliva may taste a bit salty.
  • a sharp pain in your chest when food or drink passes through your esophagus, called odynophagia
  • a cough that doesn't go away
  • a constant sore throat, hoarseness, or loss of voice
  • asthma symptoms that worsen at night
  • chest pain
  • dental disease, such as erosion of tooth enamel
  • pneumonia
  • nausea and vomiting
  • a need to constantly clear your throat
  • weight loss
  • blood in stools

When do GERD symptoms occur?

GERD symptoms typically occur:

  • within 30 to 60 minutes after eating
  • when bending over or lying down after eating
  • after lying down at night
  • after eating especially spicy foods such as onions or garlic, or fatty, fried, or acidic foods such as tomato or citrus products
  • after eating foods such as peppermint or chocolate, since they relax your lower esophageal sphincter


Lots More Information

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