Symptoms of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) include a burning sensation in the chest and throat better known as heartburn. GERD is a condition in which acid from the stomach moves backwards through the lower oesophagal sphincter and into the oesophagus. The oesophagus carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The lower oesophagal sphincter keeps food and acid from flowing back into the oesophagus, however, sometimes this muscle is weakened. There are several factors that contribute to the cause of GERD.
Additional Symptoms of GERD include:
- Chronic cough
- Feeling like there is a lump in the throat
- Chest sensation or pain
- Chronic nausea and vomiting usually after meals
If GERD is left untreated, it can lead to more severe complications. The oesophagus is made of three layers. These include an outer fibrous layer, middle layer of smooth muscle, and an inner membrane that contains tiny glands. When stomach enzymes backflow into the oesophagus, the lining offers a weak defence. Prolonged untreated symptoms of GERD can lead to severe complications and an esophagectomy (surgical removal of the oesophagus) may be necessary.
Children have slightly different symptoms of GERD. A child suffering from anaemia, failure to gain weight, or respiratory problems must be examined by a doctor. These symptoms could be linked to GERD.
Severe symptoms of GERD in children may include:
- Chronic coughing
- Frequent infections
- Gasping while asleep
- Frequent vomiting
- Frequent burping during feeding
There are several treatment options available for symptoms of GERD that are dependent on the severity of the condition. These include over-the-counter antacids, prescription drugs, natural remedies and surgery. Antacids for GERD may occasionally cause constipation, diarrhoea, increased thirst and stomach cramps.
There are natural remedies available that not only alleviate the symptoms but also heal the body. According to the publication Prescription for Nutritional Healing specific nutrients helpful with symptoms of GERD include calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which have an alkalizing effect that binds up stomach acid. The book also suggests different herbs such as Aloe Vera, which aids in the healing of the intestinal tract, and Chamomile to relieve oesophagal irritation.
- Chronic heartburn – A burning sensation, usually centred in the middle of the chest near the sternum, caused by the reflux of acidic stomach fluids that enter the lower end of the oesophagus.
- Acid regurgitation- To cause to pour back, especially to cast up (partially digested food).
- Excessive belching- To expel gas noisily from the stomach through the mouth; burp
- Dysphasia- Inability to speak words which one has in mind or to think of correct words, or inability to understand spoken or written words
- Sour taste in the mouth – Having a taste characteristic of that produced by acids; sharp, tart, or tangy.
Noncardiac chest pain – pains that mimic a heart attack but caused by reflux
Possible other symptoms of Gerd
- Chronic sore throat
- Inflammation of the gums and erosion of the enamel of the teeth
- Hoarseness in the morning
- Bad breath
- Chronic, non-allergic/non-seasonal asthma, coughing, wheezing
- Nocturnal choking