The medical terms related to acid reflux are Gastroesophageal reflux disease or Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and abbreviated as either GERD or GORD. These terms are defined as chronic symptoms or mucosal damage produced by the abnormal reflux in the esophagus.
Many relate heartburn to acid reflux. In truth, acid reflux is a medical condition, with heartburn ( a symptom of another digestive disorder, and not a disorder by itself ) as a possible symptom of that condition.
Common heartburn symptoms include:
- a burning sensation just beneath the middle of your chest after meals that increases in severity when you are down
- trouble swallowing
- a sour taste in your mouth
- a chronic dry cough
- a sore throat
- and wheezing.
Other general symptoms of acid reflux include:
Although people have different heartburn triggers, most people have similar heartburn symptoms.
- a hoarse voice when you first wake up,
- the feeling that something is stuck in your throat,
- the sensation of choking,
- and foul or bitter-smelling breath.
A burning sensation in the chest
This burning sensation usually starts behind the breastbone (the sternum), and may travel up to the throat. It usually occurs shortly after eating, and can last from a few minutes to several hours.
A burning feeling in the throat
This is a sensation of burning, usually high up in the neck though it can occur lower. The pain may worsen with swallowing. This burning sensation can result from irritation when stomach contents that have refluxed up into the throat.
Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
This sour or bitter taste can occur when stomach contents reflux up into the esophagus and may reach the back of the throat. When the contents enter the back of the throat, a person will often have a sour or bitter taste in their mouth.
Trouble with swallowing (dysphagia) occurs when food does not pass normally from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach. There may be a sensation of food sticking in the throat, chest pressure or "burning" after eating, or a feeling of choking. Difficulty swallowing could be a sign of various conditions, including erosive esophagitis and esophageal cancer, and should always be evaluated by a physician.
In some studies, GERD accounted for about 41% of cases of chronic cough in nonsmoking patients. If refluxed stomach acid is aspirated, it can cause coughing.
Wheezing or other asthma-like symptoms
Several studies suggest a significant link between GERD and asthma. The results of these studies show that up to 60% of people with asthma also have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), compared with 10% of the general population. GERD can affect asthma when refluxed acid from the stomach is aspirated into the airways and lungs, and can make breathing difficult and cause the patient to wheeze and cough.