Acid reflux is a common digestive issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close properly, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, causing discomfort and damage to the lining of the esophagus.
While most people experience classic symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation, there are other less obvious symptoms that can indicate acid reflux. This article will explore seven surprising symptoms of acid reflux that you need to know about and how to identify and treat them.
7 Surprising Symptoms of Acid Reflux You Need to Know
Acid reflux is not just about feeling a burning sensation in your chest after eating a spicy meal. In fact, there are many surprising symptoms of acid reflux that people often mistake for other conditions. Here are seven symptoms you should be aware of:
Do you find yourself coughing more often than usual? Acid reflux could be the culprit. When stomach acid travels from the stomach into the esophagus and throat, it can trigger a cough reflex. This is commonly known as acid reflux-induced cough.
If you’re experiencing hoarseness or a loss of voice that you can’t explain, acid reflux could be to blame. When stomach acid enters the throat, it can irritate the vocal cords and cause hoarseness. If left untreated, this can lead to chronic laryngitis.
Are your teeth looking more worn down than usual? Acid reflux can lead to tooth enamel erosion, which can cause sensitivity, cracking, and discoloration. The acidic content that regurgitates from the stomach can weaken the enamel and lead to dental issues.
People with acid reflux are more likely to experience asthma symptoms such as wheezing and coughing. Acid reflux can trigger asthma attacks in some people and make it harder to control their asthma symptoms.
Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia, is a common symptom of acid reflux. This occurs when the esophagus is damaged, and the muscles that help to move food down to the stomach become weakened. Dysphagia can lead to choking and malnutrition if left untreated.
Acid reflux can cause persistent nausea, even when medication or dietary changes are made to manage the symptoms. Nausea occurs when stomach acid irritates the lining of the stomach, leading to inflammation and discomfort. This can lead to vomiting, food aversions, and weight loss.
A sore throat is often a sign of a cold or flu, but acid reflux can also cause it. The acidic content that flows back up into the throat can irritate the lining and cause soreness, especially in the morning, after a meal or when lying down on the bedding.
It’s essential to be aware of these less-obvious symptoms of acid reflux so that you can seek medical advice and treatment if you’re experiencing any of them. Ignoring them can lead to long-term complications that can affect your quality of life.
How to Identify and Treat Acid Reflux: Understanding the Symptoms
Acid reflux is a common condition that can be challenging to diagnose because the symptoms are often similar to those of other digestive issues. However, when you experience symptoms repeatedly, it’s best to contact your physician. Here are some of the most common acid reflux symptoms:
The classic symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, a burning sensation that starts in the chest and moves up to the neck and throat. Heartburn is often triggered by certain foods, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
Regurgitation is the feeling of acid backing up into the throat or mouth. This can lead to a sour or bitter taste in the mouth. Regurgitation is more common when lying down and can cause food to come back up into the mouth.
Excessive burping is another symptom of acid reflux. Burping occurs when the LES fails to close properly, allowing air to enter the stomach and causing it to expand.
Bloating and Gas
Bloating and gas are common digestive issues that can also be a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux can increase the amount of gas in the digestive tract, leading to bloating and discomfort.
While uncommon, acid reflux can cause weight loss, particularly if you’re experiencing chronic nausea or have difficulty swallowing.
Blood in Vomit and Stools
Blood in vomit or stools is a severe symptom of acid reflux and needs to be addressed immediately. This can indicate a more severe condition, such as esophageal cancer.
Narrowing of the Esophagus
Long-term acid reflux can lead to a condition called esophageal stricture, in which the esophagus narrows, making it difficult to swallow food or liquid. Treatment for this condition may involve surgery to widen the esophagus or a procedure to remove or destroy the scar tissue.
Once you’ve identified the symptoms of acid reflux, various treatments can help manage the condition. Medical treatments include over-the-counter antacids, prescription medications to reduce stomach acid production, or surgery in extreme cases.
Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods that trigger acid reflux, eating smaller meals, remaining upright after eating, and losing weight, can help reduce symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a combination of both medical and lifestyle treatments to manage your acid reflux symptoms effectively.
Acid Reflux Symptoms: The Comprehensive Guide
Acid reflux symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on how long it’s been left untreated. Here’s a comprehensive list of common and uncommon symptoms you might experience:
- Stomach discomfort
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore throat
- Chronic nausea
- Chest pain
- Bloody vomit or stools
- Esophageal stricture
- Persistent vomiting
- Unintentional weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to seek medical advice sooner rather than later. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term damage to the esophagus and improve your quality of life.
Silent Symptoms: Uncommon Signs of Acid Reflux
Some symptoms of acid reflux are less obvious than others. Here are three silent symptoms that you should be aware of:
Chest pain is a less common symptom of acid reflux, but it can be concerning when it does occur. The pain can feel like a burning sensation in the chest, similar to heart attack symptoms. If you experience chest pain, it’s important to seek medical advice immediately.
Chronic coughing that lasts for weeks or months can be a sign of acid reflux. This occurs when stomach acid irritates the throat and triggers a cough reflex. If you’re experiencing chronic coughing, it’s best to see your doctor to see if acid reflux is the underlying cause.
Acid reflux can cause or worsen sinus-related issues, such as sinusitis, postnasal drip, and chronic sinus infections. This occurs when the stomach acid irritates the nasal passages and causes inflammation.
Painful and Persistent: Common Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Some symptoms of acid reflux can be particularly challenging to manage. Here are two common symptoms that can cause discomfort:
As we discussed earlier, dysphagia is difficulty swallowing and can be a severe symptom of acid reflux. It can be painful and lead to choking, making it essential to seek prompt medical treatment.
Chronic nausea is also a common symptom of acid reflux. It can lead to vomiting, food aversions, and weight loss if left untreated. Lifestyle changes and medical treatment can help manage nausea symptoms effectively.
Are You Suffering from Acid Reflux? Recognize the Symptoms and Take Control
If you suspect that you’re experiencing acid reflux symptoms, it’s critical to take steps to manage and treat them. Here are some actionable steps you can take:
- See your doctor. Your doctor can diagnose and treat acid reflux. They may recommend medication, lifestyle changes, or both to manage your symptoms.
- Avoid triggers. Certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux symptoms, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Avoiding them can help manage your symptoms.
- Eat smaller meals. Eating smaller meals can help reduce acid reflux symptoms by reducing the amount of stomach acid produced after eating.
- Remain upright after meals. Lying down after meals can lead to acid reflux symptoms. Remaining upright can help reduce the symptoms.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms and lead to other health issues.
By taking control of your acid reflux symptoms, you can improve your quality of life and avoid long-term complications.
Acid reflux is a common digestive issue that affects millions of people worldwide. While heartburn and regurgitation are the most well-known symptoms of this condition, many other less-obvious symptoms can indicate acid reflux. By understanding these symptoms and seeking medical advice, you can manage and treat your acid reflux effectively.
If you suspect that you’re experiencing acid reflux symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve your quality of life and prevent long-term complications.
Share this article with friends or family who might be experiencing acid reflux symptoms to help them take control of their health.