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10 Common Symptoms of Heartburn

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Most people experience heartburn at some point, especially after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages. Also, heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Heartburn is when you have a burning sensation in your chest that is caused by stomach acid being in your esophagus.

Heartburn, which is also known as acid reflux or GERD, can be minimized through diet and lifestyle changes. Also, over-the-counter medications can be used to treat heartburn symptoms.

Symptom 1: Acidic Taste

Is there a taste of acid in your throat? A sour or bitter taste in the back of your throat? Do you regurgitate foods or liquids, generating a taste of acid in your throat? Heartburn causes a backflow of stomach acid and juices into your throat, creating an acidic taste. Extreme cases of heartburn can make you choke.

According to a Patient.info post: “It's been 1month now with a constant bitter taste in my mouth-it just started out of the blue one day. Only other symptoms are some post nasal drip and mucus in back of throat and occasional ear pain.”

Symptom 2: Hoarse Voice

Is your voice hoarse? Do you suffer from persistent laryngitis? When stomach acid backs up into your throat, it causes reflux laryngitis – the inflammation of your voice box or larynx. Reflux laryngitis causes chronic hoarseness.

Hoarseness, swelling, and mucus production in the back of your voice box causes the common feeling and comment of a “lump in your throat.”

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Symptom 3: Stomach Pain

Do you have pain in your upper abdomen? Is it a burning sensation that moves from your stomach to your chest and onto your throat?

This happens when heartburn makes your stomach acids move into your esophagus.

Symptom 4: Difficulty Swallowing

Do you struggle to swallow when drinking or eating, or taking pills? Heartburn can cause inflammation of your esophagus, which may make it difficult to swallow.

According to a post on HelingWell.com, “For the past week have had pain while swallowing...the pain is down in my chest when I swallow...not in my throat…I can feel water, or food pass down by a certain spot in my chest and it hurts real bad and causes chest pain...I am thinking it is some sort of heart burn so have tried a variety of meds ie? Protonix, Maalox, Tagmet and nothing is helping.  It is kind of weird cause sometimes I have breathing problems right after I swallow…not sure what to think but the tummy meds aren’t helping...and the shortness of breath seems like asthma, so I crank out the inhaler and that does nothing...anyone have anything like this?”

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Symptom 5: Sore Throat

Is your throat sore? Does it feel like you always need to clear your throat? Irritation from heartburn can give you a persistent sore throat. Such a chronic sore throat may bother you more after eating and drinking.

According to the Dr. Oz Show, “…a common, yet surprising, cause of sore throat is acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While the sore throat from acid injury to the throat is typically more of a chronic sore throat as opposed to the more sudden onset of sore throat typical of infectious causes, a large portion of my patients who come in complaining of chronic sore throat (with or without hoarseness) more often than not the culprit is acid reflux. Many of these patients are completely unaware they are afflicted by acid reflux because they do not suffer from the esophageal or stomach burn that is most commonly associated with GERD. The throat irritation and ‘burn’ from GERD occurs when the stomach acid backs up into the esophagus and then into the throat. This “throat burn” is called LPR (LaryngoPharyngeal Reflux).”

Symptom 6: Burning Sensation

Does your chest burn? A burning sensation typically occurs in the upper and central portions of your chest, behind your sternum or breast bone.

When you lie flat or on your right side, the burning feeling becomes even worse. This feeling from heartburn can last a few minutes to hours.

Symptom 7:  Stuck Food

Does it feel like there is food stuck in your throat or chest? Or like you are choking?

A post on Patient.info stated: “I started experiencing esophagus problems all of a sudden about two months ago. It started one evening right after I finished supper, I felt like I had a lump of food stuck in my esophagus, right between my breast. It did not hurt, just felt like a lump of food just sitting there. I drank a lot of water and walked around the yard trying to get the food (?) to go down. After about an hour, it seemed to be ok. This continued to happen to me every evening after eating, but the symptom started lasting longer. At that time, it was just my evening meals, then as the weeks moved forward it started happening with all meals, just worse in the evening. I made an appointment with my Gastroenterologist, who I use to see ten years ago for acid reflux. He scheduled an endoscopy, and the results showed no stricture, and no cancer. He said my esophagus was a little red and inflamed and prescribed me rabeprazole sodium at 40 mg daily. This seemed to make the stuck food feeling go away but caused me really horrible insomnia and constipation, so I had to stop taking it. I now take Nexium at 20 mg twice a day, but it is not helping at all. I am having a hard time believing this symptom has anything to do with acid reflux, as I have not had any acid reflux symptoms, or issues in years. There are no symptoms at all, no heart burn, nothing. Does anyone else have symptoms like this? Could it be anything else?”

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Symptom 8: Shortness of Breath

Are you short of breath? This can be a serious complication of heartburn. If you inhale stomach acid after regurgitation, heartburn can cause shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.

According to Healthline.com, “Another reason may be that when acid enters the esophagus, it triggers a nerve reflex that causes airways to constrict to keep acid out. This leads to shortness of breath.” 

Symptom 9: Dizziness/Cold Sweat

Do you feel dizzy? Feel faint? Break out into a cold sweat? Heartburn can cause dizziness and excessive sweating.

According to a Patient.info post: “I experience extreme dizziness daily caused by acid reflux, to the point I find it hard to balance, sometimes things also spin, nothing works to relieve it, meclizine failed, ephedra cold medicine failed, the proton pumps don't work for me anymore so they fail, baking soda used to help with acid reflux but it no longer works either, my head is stopped up and stuffy from acid reflux which makes me dizzy and nothing works for it. That is the thing about the pronton pumps they will work until you run out and then skip a few days then they will no longer work, at least that is what happened to me.”

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Symptom 10: Chronic Cough

Do you suffer from a chronic, dry cough – especially at night? Heartburn can cause a chronic cough.

According to a post on HealthUnlocked.com, “Hi has anyone got any ideas on how I can deal with heartburn and coughing? I cough when I have acid and when eating, I stopped eating as it was hurting my throat with constant coughing, but I also get heartburn/acid if I don't eat so the coughing continues  I'm taking Lanzaprozol twice a day with Ranitidine and Advanced Gaviscon. I stay clear of acidic foods like fruits etc.”

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