Acid Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux, has a number of different causes. Heartburn is the pain characteristically associated with acid reflux and results from irritation of the lining of the esophagus. Some cases of heartburn can produce sharp chest pains in the mid-chest that can be mistaken for the pain of angina. Heartburn is typically worse when an individual lies down after eating and occurs most commonly after mealtimes.

Other symptoms that can occur as a result of GERD include

  • nausea,
  • regurgitation (the presence of regurgitated stomach contents in the mouth), and
  • acid-induced erosions of the teeth.

The nausea may be severe and lead to vomiting. Certain foods, including peppermint, tomatoes, spicy foods, citrus fruits, alcohol, or caffeinated drinks, may worsen the symptoms.

In some cases, acid reflux can cause atypical symptoms, including

Causes of acid reflux (GERD)

The symptoms of acid reflux are caused by the regurgitation of acidic sour liquid stomach contents back up into the esophagus. Factors that may contribute to GERD include slow emptying of the stomach, lower esophageal sphincter abnormalities, hiatal hernia, and abnormal esophageal contractions.

Related Symptoms & Signs

REFERENCE:

Patti, Marco G. "Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease." Medscape. May 2, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/176595-overview>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/5/2017
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