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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Symptoms & Signs

Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

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Symptoms & Signs

Heartburn is an uncomfortable feeling of burning and warmth behind the breastbone (sternum) but sometimes rising as high as the neck. It usually occurs after meals, when lying down, or at night while sleeping. Heartburn usually is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the rise of stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Heartburn has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart though the discomfort of heartburn may be confused with heart pain and vice versa. Heartburn is a popular nonmedical term that often is referred to medically as pyrosis.

Heartburn is a common cause of burning sensation in the chest and chest pain. Heartburn can be associated with sour taste in the mouth, dry cough, hoarseness, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/10/2017

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Causes of Heartburn
  • 19 Tips on How to Stop a Cough Coughing is a reflex that helps a person clear their airways of irritants. There are many causes of an excessive or severe...learn more »

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    • 19 natrual and home remedies to cure and soothe a cough
    • What over-the-counter (OTC) products cure or soothe a cough?
    • What prescription drugs cure a cough?
    • How zithromax severe stomach pain relief can I get rid of a nighttime cough?
    • What kind of a doctor treats a cough?
    • When should I see a doctor about a cough?
  • Angina Angina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning,...learn more »

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    Angina Article
    • What is angina?
    • What causes angina?
    • What are the different types of angina?
    • What are the signs and symptoms of angina?
    • How is angina diagnosed?
    • What is the treatment for angina?
    • Angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery
    • What are other methods are used to evaluate angina?
    • What is the prognosis for angina?
    • Can angina be prevented?
  • Chest Pain Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy,...learn more »

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    Chest Pain Article
    • Chest pain facts
    • Chest pain introduction
    • What are the sources of chest pain?
    • What are the causes of chest pain?
    • How is chest pain diagnosed?
    • What is the philosophy of the approach to chest pain diagnosis?
    • What is the diagnosis and treatment for chest pain?
    • Broken or bruised ribs
    • Costochondritis
    • Pleuritis or pleurisy
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    • Pericarditis
    • Aorta and aortic dissection
    • Esophagus and reflux esophagitis
    • Referred abdominal pain
  • Children's Cough Causes and Treatments Children's cough causes include infection, acid reflux, asthma, allergies or sinus infection, whooping cough, and exposure to...learn more »

    In This Article

    Children's Cough Causes and Treatments Article
    • What is a cough?
    • What are the common causes of acute cough in children?
    • What are the common causes of chronic cough in children?
    • How is the cause of childhood cough diagnosed?
    • What are the various therapies and home remedies for childhood cough?
    • When should I contact my doctor for childhood cough symptoms?
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    • What causes GERD (acid reflux)?
    • What are the symptoms of uncomplicated GERD?
    • What are the complications of GERD?
    • How is GERD or acid reflux diagnosed and evaluated?
    • Symptoms and procedures to diagnose GERD
    • GERD (acid reflux) tests
    • How is GERD (acid reflux) treated?
    • Lifestyle changes and GERD (acid reflux) diet
    • GERD (acid reflux) medications
    • GERD surgery
    • What is a reasonable approach to the management of GERD (acid reflux)?
    • What are the unresolved issues in GERD (acid reflux)?
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    Heart Attack Article
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    • What is a heart attack?
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    • What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
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    • How is heart attack in women treated?
    • What about hormone therapy and heart attack in women?
    • What is new in heart attack?
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    Hiatal Hernia Article
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    • What causes a hiatal hernia?
    • Is there one more than one type of hiatal hernia?
    • What are the signs and symptoms of a hiatal hernia?
    • How is hiatal hernia diagnosed?
    • What is the treatment for hiatal hernia?
    • Hiatal hernia medications
    • Lifestyle changes
    • Hiatal hernia surgery
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    Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors) Article
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    • What are treatment options for recurrent or progressive pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (islet cell tumors)?
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    • Scleroderma facts
    • What is scleroderma?
    • What causes scleroderma?
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Examples of Medications for Heartburn
  • Carafate (sucralfate)
  • cimetidine, Tagamet HB
  • esomeprazole (Nexium, Nexium 24HR, Nexium IV)
  • famotidine, Pepcid, Pepcid AC
  • metoclopramide, Reglan, Metozolv ODT, (Reglan ODT, Octamide, and Maxolon
  • pantoprazole, Protonix
  • Prilosec (omeprazole) vs. Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) Drug Class
  • rabeprazole, Aciphex
  • ranitidine, Zantac

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Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/heartburn/symptoms.htm


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