Anyone who has ever suffered through GERD symptoms will know that they go beyond a mere annoyance. Some people experience symptoms which are relatively mild while others have what they classify as excruciating pain. However, even though GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) originates in the stomach, most often the severest of symptoms are in the throat. Sometimes it is simply referred to as heartburn, but the actual condition doctors refer to as GERD is much more severe than a simple case of heartburn or acid reflux.
In some cases of GERD symptoms throat pain is quite severe and over time can also develop into other diseases as a result of ongoing acidic reflux. But in the beginning, GERD symptoms may be mild enough to simply be written off as indigestion. The reason for this ‘self misdiagnosis’ is clear because of how GERD presents. Food that is eaten is supposed to pass through the throat, through the stomach and on through the digestive tract. With GERD, there is a breakdown in a ring of muscles that are meant to prevent food from regurgitating back up into the esophagus and throat.
Because of all the acidity in the contents of the stomach, GERD symptoms throat discomfort is quite common. Unfortunately, although GERD symptoms throat relief is available for temporary relief, the most severe cases of GERD can cause permanent damage to the esophagus over time. If you have been experiencing symptoms that mimic heartburn more often than would be probable with simple heartburn, it is suggested that you speak with your physician at the earliest possible opportunity.
It is suggested that you try to control GERD symptoms with intelligent lifestyle choices. For example, foods that are overly acidic will just tend to exacerbate the problem if you are having a particularly troublesome bout. Also, GERD symptoms women experience when pregnant can actually prove to worsen the ‘morning sickness’ that is part and parcel of a normal pregnancy. If you are unsuccessful in reducing or eliminating GERD symptoms with pharmaceuticals, naturopathic antacids or lifestyle changes, surgery may be a viable option. Some physicians can perform an endoscopic procedure if the symptoms are not too severe while there may be times when major surgery is required. In any case, getting an accurate diagnosis of GERD is of primary importance before assuming this is what you are suffering from. Just as some symptoms mimic GERD, so too can GERD symptoms mimic other, more serious, diseases.
1) Immediate pain: starts right after consumption of acidic food. It is caused by acidic substances from food irritating esophagus.
2) After meal pain: starts after heavy meal when there is too much food in the stomach and stomach acid refluxes back to the esophagus.
3) Alcohol/spicy or bitter food related delayed pain: starts several hours after alcohol/spicy food consumption. My guess is that alcohol causes some kind of delayed action when stomach starts actively producing acid several hours after consumption.
4) Chocolate/caffeine consumption heartburn pain. Starts when you consume some chocolate or caffeine late in the evening and lay down later. Heartburn happens because chocolate and caffeine relax the valve between stomach and esophagus and let acid get into esophagus.
Learn about chronic heartburn and chronic heartburn causes.
Constant heartburn usually requires more attention than occasional heartburn. Constant and frequent heartburn could be a symptom of more severe condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Symptoms of constant heartburn:
- Pain or discomfort that starts in the middle of the chest and can then move up through the throat
- Chronic cough
- Burning in the throat – or hot, sour, acidic or salty-tasting fluid at the back of the throat.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Feeling of food “sticking” in the middle of the chest or throat.
- Sore throat
- Chronic hoarseness
Here is a list of quick advices to deal with constant heartburn:
- go to your doctor and get some medications (usually PPI – proton pump inhibitor)
- cut back on acidic foods
- avoid caffeine and alcohol
- don’t lie down right after eating (1-2 hours should be enough if you lie down for short period of time). It is better to lie down on a wedge pillow.
- don’t eat just before going to bed (allow at least 3-4 hours)
- avoid clothing that’s too tight around the waist
Learn more about chronic heartburn and chronic heartburn causes.
Chest pain due to heartburn is often confused with heart attack chest pain.
Below are typical symptoms of heart attack:
Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes.
Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms. The pain may be mild to intense. It may feel like pressure, tightness, burning, or heavy weight. It may be located in the chest, upper abdomen, neck, jaw, or inside the arms or shoulders.
Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Anxiety, nervousness and/or cold, sweaty skin.
Paleness or pallor.
Increased or irregular heart rate.
Feeling of impending doom.
So if you have symptoms similar to ones listed above seek emergency help immediately.
Below are typical symptoms of heartburn:
A burning feeling in the chest just behind the breastbone that occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes to several hours.
Chest pain, especially after bending over, lying down or eating.
Burning in the throat — or hot, sour, acidic or salty-tasting fluid at the back of the throat.
Feeling of food “sticking” in the middle of the chest or throat.
Heartburn may cause chronic cough, sore throat, or chronic hoarseness
So use these two lists to distinguish between these different types of pains. Who knows maybe this can save you a life sometime.
Let me give you some more food to try. Hopefully this will help you heartburn. This is the only food out of milk family which works wonders for me. It is cottage and farmer cheese. Note that you have to select non-acid cottage and farmer cheese. Cottage cheese is usually non-acid (especially when you eat with some fruits or jam). But select farmer cheese with carefulness – sometimes it is a bit acidÂ and may cause heartburn.
This was one of the best heartburn relieving foods for me. Since it is milk based – it is alkaline with lots of calcium and naturally reduces acid in your stomach. And it is not liquid as milk but solid which causes it to absorb acid much better and not allow it to get to your esophagus.
Also cottage cheese is very healthy – there are lots of nations in the world which diet has cottage and farmer cheese in it.
Cottage cheese could be easily found in your local grocery store (pick organic – it usually tastes better). Farmer cheese is not that easy to find – but you can look for it in Russian or Eastern European stores and local farms.
Hope this helps!
Check out more remedies from heartburn at my Remedy Database