1. Vomiting blood
Regurgitation or vomiting of blood is the backward flowing of blood from the stomach to the mouth through the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although, this is not common in patients suffering from GERD but might occur in some cases. Vomiting blood may not be an early symptom of GERD and is most likely due to an esophageal injury. Immediate medical attention is advised, especially if the vomiting is forceful.
2. Belching and chest pain
Belching is a very common act of bringing up air from the stomach accompanied by a characteristic sound. Belching is very common after a meal and it may or may not be a symptom of any disease. Frequent and uncomfortable belching can be a possible symptom of GERD or some other kind of digestive disorder. Unexplained and frequent belching might be accompanied by a sharp pain in the middle of the chest. Chest pain is different from a burning sensation but can also be a symptom of GERD.
3. Sore throat or cough
Frequent episodes of acid indigestion may lead to a sore throat. Patients may experience an unexplained dry cough. In some cases, patients also experience hoarseness (difficulty speaking) or change in pitch of their voice. This is an advanced symptom of GERD and should not be ignored. Wheezing can also be a characteristic of acid indigestion.
Dysphagia in medical terminology means difficulty in swallowing. It is a symptom in which the patient experiences trouble swallowing food and liquid. Dysphagia can be classified as a digestive disorder and is a common symptom of GERD. Dysphagia may or may not be severe in patients with GERD, but medical checkup is a must for patients experiencing difficulty in swallowing.
Though nausea is not a common symptom of the disease, it is sometimes severe in patients suffering from GERD. Nausea in these cases may also result in vomiting. If a person is experiencing frequent unexplained vomiting, GERD is the first condition to be considered. Depending upon the intensity of the disease, GERD triggers heartburn in most patients and nausea or vomiting in some.
The food or liquid that travels back into the esophagus, in some cases, appears in the mouth of the patient. Mostly, the reflux content is small in quantity and only reaches the esophagus, but sometimes it gets through the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and reaches the throat. In these cases, people may experience acidic liquid or food in their mouth. This can be accompanied by a burning sensation in the chest and is a common symptom of GERD. Also, frequent regurgitation in the mouth can also cause acidic erosion of the teeth. Medical attention is advised if it occurs frequently.
The digestive juices or acid flowing back to the esophagus stimulate the nerve fibers in the esophagus, causing a burning sensation accompanied by a pain in the chest which is commonly described as heartburn. Frequent episodes of heartburn are the main symptom of GERD. Some people experience a sharp pain rather than a burning sensation. The pain in heartburn increases when the person bends or lies down. In some cases, the pain may also extend to the back. The acid regurgitation usually happens after meals, more commonly if the person is lying down as the reflux occurs easily without the effect of gravity. Heartburn in these cases is generally relieved by antacids, but the relief is temporary and the sensation is likely to reoccur. A medical checkup is advisable if heartburn occurs more than twice a week.