Acid reflux is relatively common condition. It happens when stomach acids and other contents back up into the esophagus through he LES (Lower esophageal sphincter).
The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscular ring which is located in the digestive tract where the esophagus meets your stomach.
The lower esophageal sphincter opens in order to allow food into your stomach when you swallow, and then closes in order to prevent food from rising up into the esophagus. However, when the LES is damaged or weak it may not close properly.
This can result in back up of harmful stomach contents into the esophagus, which can cause acid reflux symptoms. Symptoms of acid reflux are more common after a fatty or spicy meal, after a heavy meal or when you are lying down or bending over. The symptoms can also range from mild to severe. Acid reflux can happen at any time of day, but most people experience symptoms during late hours.
You should visit your doctor for testing if you have symptoms which significantly affect your quality of life, experience acid reflux more than twice a week, or find yourself taking antacids on a daily basis. Frequent acid reflux can indicate a chronic, more serious form of acid reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can lead to serious health complications if it is untreated.
When the content of your stomach backs up into the esophagus, it may cause a lot of symptoms. Symptoms depend on what organ is affected by the stomach acid. For that reason not each person with acid reflux will experience the same symptoms.
Heartburn – Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux, which is also known as acid indigestion. The burning sensation is caused by raising stomach acid. It moves from your stomach up into your esophagus. It can move all the way from the bottom of the esophagus all the way up into your throat. Heartburn usually worsens when your bend over or lie down.
Sour Taste – In case the backwash of stomach acid moves all the way to the back of your mouth or throat, it can cause a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. You can also experience a burning sensation in your mouth and throat.
Regurgitation – Regurgitation is the feeling of liquid, food, or bile which moves the wrong way in your throat. Sometimes, people may even vomit, although vomiting is rare in adult people.
Dyspepsia – This is a burning feeling and discomfort in the upper-middle part of the stomach. Pain can be intermittent and it’s also known as indigestion. People with dyspepsia may vomit or burp a lot, have an upset stomach, be nauseated, feel uncomfortably full, have heartburn, or feel bloated.
Dysphagia – This is a condition in which swallowing is painful or difficult. Dysphagia has many potential causes. It can be caused by cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke
Sore Throat – Acid reflux may irritate your throat and common symptoms are the sensation of a lump in your throat, hoarse voice, and sore throat.
Most children and some adults with GERD do not experience heartburn, which is the most common symptoms of this condition. However, they experience other symptoms.
Dry Cough – Dry cough is a common symptom in children and adults can also experience this symptom. They may feel like they have to repeatedly clear their throat.
Asthma Symptoms – Reflux usually causes asthma symptoms in young children. Wheezing is such symptom and it is caused by stomach acid irritating the airways. Adults with GERD can also experience asthma.
You should immediately seek emergency medical treatment if you experience symptoms, such as severe chest pain, heartburn which seems different or worsen than normal, or a tightening, squeezing, or crushing sensation in your chest.
Emergency medical treatment is especially important if you experience pain during physical activity or if the pain is accompanied by sweating, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, or pain radiating through your left arm, back, shoulder, jaw, or neck.