Acid Reflux Symptoms
Acid reflux symptoms should not be ignored. If you have one or more of the following acid reflux symptoms you should seek counsel of your doctor. Chronic acid reflux can lead to further complications such as esophagitis, GERD, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer.
Common Acid Reflux Symptoms:
Heartburn: Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, is a painful, burning sensation in the chest that can radiate up the throat, neck and into the jaw.1
Bitter Taste: Stomach acid backing up into the throat can cause a bitter or sour taste in the mouth.
Nausea: Acid backing up into the esophagus can cause some to feel nauseated.
Vomiting: Stomach acid refluxing into the throat can cause some to vomit.
Dental Erosion: The backing up of stomach acid into the mouth can lead to dental erosion.
Bad Breath: The reflux of stomach acid and contents into the esophagus can cause bad breath.
Hoarseness: Stomach acid refluxing into the esophagus can irritate the vocal cords causing hoarseness.
Laryngitis: Laryngitis can be and acid reflux symptom. Refluxed stomach acid can irritate the vocal cords leading to hoarseness and possible voice loss, along with a dry, sore throat and painful swallowing.
Sore Throat: Chronic sore throat can be caused by stomach acids irritating the esophageal lining.
Cough: Acid reflux can cause coughing when acids reflux into the lungs.
Pneumonia: The reflux of stomach acid into the lungs can cause pneumonia.
Asthma: Another acid reflux symptom is asthma. This symptom is a little harder for clinical researchers to understand. It is unclear whether heartburn causes the development of asthma by constricting brachial tubes to keep out acid or if asthma is a heartburn trigger. Unfortunately, those who have asthma are likely to have acid reflux issues.
Excessive Saliva: Excessive saliva can be an acid reflux symptom. It is the body’s way of washing the refluxed acids back into the stomach.
Trouble Swallowing: Chronic acid irritation of the esophagus can cause a ring of scar tissue to form that narrows the esophagus making swallowing more difficult. The raised ring of scar tissue can cause food to stick in the throat or aspiration of fluids.
Bloating: Bloating is a symptom that can lead to acid reflux. The pressure in the stomach places pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) leading to the leaking/reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. The LES is a ring of muscle at the base of the esophagus that closes to keep stomach contents in place and out of the throat.
Burping: Burping is also a symptom that can cause acid reflux. It too causes pressure on the LES allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus.
Hiccups: Hiccups impair the ability of the LES to properly keep stomach acid out of the esophagus.
Blood: A scary acid reflux symptom some experience is bloody or black stools or vomiting of blood. These symptoms can be signs of bleeding in the digestive tract, esophagus, or stomach. Chronic acid reflux or GERD can irritate the lining of the esophagus to the point of bleeding.
Weight Loss: Unexplained weight loss is another acid reflux symptom that should not be ignored. Chronic acid reflux or GERD can progress into esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is one cause of unexplained weight loss.
See “What is Acid Reflux” for more about acid reflux causes, prevention and treatment.
- Richard W. Tobin, M.D., Charles E. Pope II, M.D., and Deborah L. Greenburg, M.D. “Heartburn and Regurgitation“.