Symptoms and Complications of Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux disease or GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) is a common health problem and most of us have suffered from the symptoms of this common health problem sometime or other. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of GERD to take preventive measures and use home remedies of acid reflux disease, before we can consult a doctor.

Most frequent or most common signs and symptoms of GERD are:

  • Heartburn
  • Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
  • Regurgitation (backflow of contents from stomach to esophagus) of gastric contents to esophagus

Less common or less frequent symptoms of GERD are:

  • Nausea
  • Pain or discomfort in chest
  • Burning pain during swallowing
  • Feeling of lump (feeling of presence of something in throat) in throat
  • Increased salivation, dry cough, hoarseness, sore throat etc.

Symptoms of GERD among children:

  • Children can not describe symptoms like adults. Symptoms that suggest GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) among children include frequent/repeated vomiting, coughing, effortless spitting, wheezing, excessive crying, refusal of feeds, bad breath, belching, burping, crying for food only to pull of feeding bottle or breast etc.

Complications of GERD or acid reflux disease:

  • Narrowing of esophagus: due to repeated reflux of gastric contents (acid, food, bile etc.) there is inflammation of esophageal mucosa. Long standing inflammation can lead to ulceration and scar formation of esophageal mucosa which may lead to narrowing of esophageal lumen and lead to difficulty in swallowing.
  • Ulcer formation: acid reflux from stomach can erode the mucosal lining of esophagus and lead to ulcer formation. There may be bleeding from open ulcer of esophagus.
  • Formation of Barrett’s esophagus: acid reflux for long duration may lead to development of Barrett’s esophagus (a precancerous condition), which is a type of metaplastic change in esophageal mucosa, which leads to increased risk of stomach/gastric cancer. Once Barrett’s esophagus develops it is important to do endoscopic examination regularly.



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