This week marks the 17th annual National GERD Awareness Week. It’s time to pay attention to your heartburn symptoms and other less common symptoms of GERD and see a doctor if you suspect you may have GERD.
What is GERD? GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition which develops when the reflux of stomach contents causes troublesome symptoms or complications. Chronic heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD, but there are other symptoms that can be associated with GERD. Some of these symptoms include:
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Dysphagia (the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus)
- Chronic sore throat
- Inflammation of the gums
- Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
- Chronic irritation in the throat
- Hoarseness in the morning
- A sour taste
- Bad breath
Also pay attention to the frequency of your heartburn. Does it occur more than once a week? Does heartburn pain wake you up at night? Does it interfere with your daily activities? If so, you should check with your doctor to rule out GERD.
Serious health problems can result if GERD is not diagnosed and treated properly. Acids that consistently flow back into the esophagus can cause irritation and swelling in the lining which is very uncomfortable and painful. Eventually, scar tissue could form making it difficult to swallow. Sores or ulcers can also form on the esophageal lining.
Only a doctor can diagnose GERD. See our website page for more information. Do not postpone seeing your doctor if you suspect GERD. The doctors at GI Associates will put you on the path to relief and healing!