• Heartburn is a symptoms caused by the disease, GRED; sometimes referred to as acid reflux 
  • GERD can cause many symptoms other than heartburn 
  • Some symptoms can signify serious problems that must be expeditiously evaluated 

When people think of gastroesophageal reflux, they think of heartburn.

Heartburn is a symptom and something that people often complain of experiencing.
GERD is a disease. Therefore, heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD.

Patients describe heartburn as a burning sensation in the very upper abdomen that extends up to the chest under the breastbone. There can also be a pressure sensation associated with it.

The most important thing to understand about heartburn is that it is a symptom that can occur with heart disease as well.

If you are experiencing heartburn for the first time, consult your provider and follow his/her recommendations to ensure this sensation does not come from your heart.

In addition to heartburn, there are two “typical” symptoms of GERD: regurgitation and swallowing difficulty termed dysphagia.

Regurgitation is the reflux of bitter stomach juice into the back of the throat without warning. Regurgitation tends to occur at night with an abrupt wake up to a bitter material in the back of your throat accompanied by a choking sensation and can occur during the day. Even when just bending over, regurgitation tends to respond poorly to acid-reducing medications, and a minimally invasive surgical procedure may be required to control this.

Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing and may also represent advanced reflux disease. It is a symptom that must be evaluated expeditiously. It usually represents some degree of damage to the esophagus from long-standing reflux. However, it can also represent something quite serious: a narrowing esophagus from reflux or even esophageal cancer.

Both dysphagia and regurgitation could represent advanced GRED, and testing should be done to evaluate this. A state-of-the-art evaluation is performed through the Heartburn Treatment Center.

GERD can also cause other symptoms that we term as “atypical.” These can include chronic cough, throat clearing, voice fatigue, worsen of preexisting asthma, dental disease, etc. These atypical symptoms can be challenging to recognize as GERD and frequently respond poorly to GERD medications.
GERD, also referred to as acid reflux, can cause many symptoms. Even if heartburn is not present, there are a host of other symptoms caused by GERD. Whether it is heartburn or something else, the GERD patient should not suffer when a proper evaluation and treatment options are readily available.