Unexplained physical discomfort or pain can be disconcerting and even scary sometimes. Undiagnosed medical problems can become serious if not managed early on. Some diseases, like gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, are difficult to distinguish from a transient episode of indigestion. For these reasons, it is important to know the difference between GERD symptoms and other conditions.
GERD presents with characteristic symptoms. Sometimes acid reflux becomes chronic. It is at this time that some people develop gastroesophageal reflux disease. The typical and primary presenting symptoms of GERD, as reported by WebMD, include heartburn, regurgitation, nausea and globus pharyngeus.
Heartburn. This symptom feels like a burning pain in the middle of the chest. It can be located anywhere from the abdomen to the neck area. Some people report the pain of heartburn is more like pressure and is even sharp. Always verify your condition with your doctor. If you have chest pains, get emergency care immediately.
Regurgitation. The muscle around the esophagus normally opens for food to pass through into the rest of the digestive system. It closes once the food has passed, keeping a backwash of acid and partially digested food from coming back into the throat. If this muscle is weakened for any reason, a burp could quickly turn into a bite. The acid rises up higher into the throat and passes the esophageal sphincter. Over time, this regurgitation can be more than uncomfortable — it can lead to more serious conditions.
Nausea. The feeling of having food or something stuck in your throat can cause nausea when GERD symptoms begin. The acid reflux is also irritating to the throat and can cause the feeling of nausea.
Globus pharyngeus. That bothersome feeling like there is a lump stuck in your throat that you can’t swallow away actually has a name. This condition arises for a variety of reasons, including the onset of GERD, related reflux and associated symptoms.