Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can have a variety of symptoms we do not typically associate with acid reflux. GERD is caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscular valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When functioning properly, the LES opens only to allow food and liquids to enter the stomach. However, a loose LES can allow gastric acid to backflow into the esophagus, and heartburn is only one of many symptoms.
Here are some hidden symptoms of GERD that you might not recognize as being caused by reflux:
- Hoarse or husky voice — A deeper-sounding voice after a meal might mean that you are experiencing reflux of acid into the esophagus or throat.
- Sore throat — GERD can also cause your throat to become sore after eating.
- Bitter taste — A bitter or sour taste in your mouth after eating might be gastric acid from the stomach caused by GERD. In severe cases, acid reflux can cause choking.
- Asthma — Wheezing and coughing can be caused by stomach acid reaching the lungs.
- Chest pain — Heartburn or chest pain can be due to repeated acid reflux.
- Nausea — Feeling queasy after a meal could also point to reflux.
- Excessive saliva — Extra saliva may be produced to wash acid from the esophagus.
- Bad breath — The acidity of reflux can cause bad breath.
- Difficulty swallowing — A feeling of a lump in the throat that won’t go away could indicate inflammation of esophageal tissue and strictures.
- Ear ache — Ear aches and ear infections are not uncommon for GERD sufferers.
If you have several of the symptoms above, make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. Undiagnosed GERD can cause long-term complications that can lead to serious health problems so make an appointment today.