Recognizing The Silent GERD Symptoms Beyond Heartburn

Have you ever experienced an annoying sensation in your stomach? It feels like the acid in your stomach is bubbling toward your throat. If yes, you may have chronic heartburn. Sometimes, it’s normal to experience heartburn from eating greasy foods. Yet, many times, it could be something more severe.  

GERD symptoms encompass a range of uncomfortable experiences. It includes heartburn, acid reflux, and difficulties with swallowing. These symptoms can impact the quality of life. Thus, you should never ignore it.   

GERD stands for a medical condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease. This medical condition occurs when the acid in your stomach rises. It could be to your mouth, lungs, and esophagus.  

The truth is the condition isn’t rare. Yes, you heard it right! According to studies, around 18 to 27% of people in North America suffer from the same. If you want to know “what are the symptoms of GERD”, keep reading this post. Read all about warning signs, indicators of GERD, risk factors, and treatments.  

What Are the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms?

  1. Bitter taste in the mouth

    One of the first GERD symptoms is a bitter taste in your mouth. GERD moves the food and bile from your tummy into your throat. It might cause a bitter taste in your mouth. At the same time, you may also experience a burn in your esophagus. It is unpleasant and painful. It is one of the GERD symptoms when your throat feels hot and sore. Additionally, you also produce more saliva than usual. It almost feels as if your throat is on fire. So, if this happens to you, do not shrug it off as a one or two-time occurrence. 

  2. Consistent heartburn 

    Many people who experience heartburn think that the heartburn will go away. Usually, people prefer to take antacid. Yet, sometimes, it does not work. Remember that it might not be a simple heartburn when it does not go away. It could be a severe symptom that leads to a burning sensation in the chest. It is normal to feel regurgitation and heartburn at times. But if it happens often, you may have contracted GERD. 

  3. Difficulty swallowing

    It is another GERD symptom if you experience a feeling of food getting stuck in your throat. It’s important to recognize the symptoms and address them. Make sure you’re getting proper diagnosis and appropriate management of GERD. When you have GERD, you feel like the food is getting stuck in your throat. This condition is dysphagia. Remember that this condition can make it difficult to swallow. It can also make you feel like you do not want to eat. The condition flares up when eating some specific food. For example, spicy foods, chocolate, acidic foods, soft cheeses, and caffeine. 

  4. You feel like a heart attack is on its way 

    Another one of GERD symptoms in adults is that you feel like you are experiencing a heart attack. Since the chest is next to the heart, you might mistake it for cardiac symptoms. This suggests you might consider you’re having a heart attack. Other than burning, you can also feel pain when suffering from GERD. That is another reason people think they are having a heart attack. Remember that if you are unsure what is causing your chest pain, the best option is to see a physician. You can find out the truth and get medications. You should never assume that you have GERD. Moreover, never head to the neighborhood pharmacy for over-the-counter medication. 

  5. You may suffer from a persistent cough 

    Stomach acid can travel up your food pipe, reaching your lungs. This leads to respiratory problems. They can be minor and give you a hoarse cough. It might cause congestion in your chest. Also, you may even suffer from a persistent cough. Sometimes, respiratory issues can cause pneumonia, wheezing, laryngitis, or asthma. This is why you should consider seeing a physician to determine the cause. 

  6. You may face respiratory problems 

    If you feel shortness of breath, it is one of the many GERD symptoms. GERD may cause some respiratory problems. It includes aspiration or bronchospasm. So, you should know that these conditions can become life-threatening. So, never ignore such symptoms. 

Serious Issues That Could Happen If GERD Is Left Untreated

You need to remember that GERD symptoms and treatment go hand in hand. If left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious health conditions. Yes, that’s true!  

  • One condition is esophagitis. Esophagitis happens when acid damages the lining inside the esophagus. 
  • Other conditions that may occur from acid reflux disease include a hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernias form when the stomach slides into the chest from your diaphragm. 
  • GERD can also turn into esophageal ulcers or esophageal strictures. At worst, it could turn into a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus. It’s also known as esophageal cancer. 

Risk factors

There are several risk factors for GERD. Here are some of them:  

  • Obesity and excess body weight can increase abdominal pressure. It can lead to a higher likelihood of acid reflux. 
  • A hiatal hernia can also contribute to GERD. It’s a condition where part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm.  
  • Other factors include smoking, which weakens the lower esophageal sphincter. It could be pregnancy, which places pressure on the abdomen. Then, there are certain medications like antihistamines and calcium channel blockers. 
  • Dietary choices can also exacerbate GERD symptoms. For instance, consuming fatty and spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. 

These negative risk factors can contribute to the development of GERD symptoms. Manage these risks and make lifestyle changes to reduce their occurrence and severity. 

Causes of GERD 

Like any other disease, many factors can cause GERD. Here are some causes of GERD in adults. 

  • Weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) 
  • Hiatal hernia 
  • Abnormal esophageal contractions 
  • Delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis) 
  • Increased abdominal pressure 
  • Obesity and excess body weight 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Smoking 
  • Certain medications (e.g., antihistamines, calcium channel blockers) 
  • Dietary factors (e.g., fatty and spicy foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, caffeine) 
  • Alcohol consumption 
  • Stress and anxiety

These factors can contribute to the development of GERD. It might impair the function of the LES. It may increase acid production or disrupt the normal digestive process.  

Hence, it’s important to identify and address these causes of GERD in older adults. This can manage the symptoms. 

When to Contact Your Physician? 

Contact your physician immediately if you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms. No matter whether it’s shortness of breath, persistent cough or chest pain.   

Your doctor will do some tests. In case you have GERD, they may prescribe what’s known as a proton pump inhibitor for treatment. Some of the medications may include but are not limited to:  

  • Omeprazole 
  • Esomeprazole 
  • Lansoprazole

The above are the most common medicines to treat GERD. But there are other medical options as well. Moreover, your physician may also refer you to a gastroenterologist for further testing. 

Home Remedies to Treat GERD 

You can take steps at home to relieve your GERD symptoms. Here are some of the things that can help.   

  • Eat three to four hours before bedtime. It’ll give your food time to digest while still awake. 
  • Elevate your head when you get ready for bed. You can prop your pillows up high. 
  • Sleep on your left side to avoid irritation due to the shape of the stomach.

Following these tips will help relieve your GERD. Plus, it’ll allow you to sleep more well through the night. 

Final Words 

We hope that you know the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. You might experience these when you have GERD. Yet, this condition can cure with medication, proper diet, and sleep adjustments.  You should immediately visit your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. If you already have a prescription from your doctor, contact our pharmacy. We offer affordable medications and help you save on various prescriptions.    


  1. 2002. Joel J. Heidelbaugh. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Michigan Medicine.  
  2. 2013. National Insititute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  San Francisco Surgical. Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in adults.  
  3. 2019. J. family Med Prim Care. Prevalence and risk factors of gastroesophageal reflux disease. NIH.  
  4. 2021. Anna Taraszewska. Risk Factors for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms Related to Lifestyle and Diet. National Institute of Public Health.  
  5. 2021. Rasool MF. Assessing the Frequency and Risk Factors Associated with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Dove Press.  


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MASTERING EVERYTHING ABOUT DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. Always consult a doctor before beginning a new health care regimen.

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