Regular heartburn is the main symptom of GERD. Heartburn is a feeling of burning behind the breastbone. It’s often made worse by overeating or lying down after a big meal. Many people also have regurgitation. This is a feeling of food and fluid moving back up to the back of the throat or into the mouth.
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The fluids from the stomach can cause:
Regular backflow of stomach acid causes problems in the throat and structures around it. This can lead to:
Babies with GERD may also have cycles of vomiting. This can keep them from getting the nutrients they need. Without them, their growth will slow down.
Long term problems:
Esophageal muscles can tighten or spasm. This can cause pain that moves through the chest and back. It feels like close to what a heart attack may feel like. Don't assume you’re not having a heart attack. Call for emergency medical services right away.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: https://aga-cms-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/2018214195040---All_GERD_2017.pdf. Updated July 2017. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116914/Gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-GERD . Updated September 14, 2017. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Merck Manual Professional Version. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/esophageal-and-swallowing-disorders/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Updated April 2018. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Katz PO, Gerson LB, Velva MF. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(3):302-328.
Symptoms & causes of GER & GERD. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults/symptoms-causes. Updated November 2014. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 8/20/2018