Question: What are the common symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and when should I see a doctor about these symptoms?
Answer: Symptoms of GERD can be divided into two broad categories: typical and atypical symptoms. Typical symptoms are heartburn, which is described as a burning sensation in the mid-chest, as well as regurgitation, which is the sensation of gastric contents and gastric juices coming up from the stomach into the esophagus and then into the back of the throat. Atypical symptoms are things such as chronic cough, atypical chest pain, which is often confused with chest pain originating from the cardiac region, shortness of breath, asthma, as well as sore throat. These symptoms sometimes are not clearly identified as being due to acid reflux but with the proper testing the final diagnosis can be made.
Patients should seek physician's attention when symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux occur more than once or twice weekly, or if they have more concerning symptoms such as trouble swallowing, weight loss or anemia.