While some GERD symptoms (symptoms of acid reflux) may be obvious, other such gastric reflux signs may slip by less concerned individuals who are less attentive. Gastric reflux, commonly referred to as acid reflux or GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease), is most easily identified when the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates into the esophagus.
More potent symptoms can involve regurgitation all the way back up into the mouth (the unpleasant and poor tasting “wet burp”). Untreated or mistreated GERD symptoms are the most common cause of Barrett’s Esophagus symptoms.
This liquid inflames the lining of the esophagus, and if severe or frequent this potent internal liquid will do damage to the esophagus’s protective lining. The liquid contains acid and pepsin produced for digestion by the stomach. In some cases, the liquid may contain bile from a backed-up duodenum (the first twelve inches of your small intestine beyond your stomach).
While most medical researchers agree that the acid is the primary culprit, the role of pepsin — an enzyme the stomach uses to begin the digestion of proteins — isn’t yet fully understood. Until further studies elucidate this matter, it would be best to treat the reflux liquid with serious caution regardless of its properties.
Heartburn or GERD?
Because the role of stomach acid in the process is more clear, GERD symptoms are often associated with sensations individuals would liken to burning (thus the term heartburn). Even minor cases of gastroesophageal reflux can lead to heartburn symptoms. In fact, most humans experience a little gastric reflux without developing any kind of specific related condition. Unfortunately, this does make it difficult to discern when one should take the matter more seriously or just consider it a common byproduct of the modern diet.
Individuals who develop a clinical case of G.E.R.D. symptoms usually have a higher concentration of acid in the reflux and the reflux tends to go higher within those individuals’ esophagus. Years of this acid exposure in the esophagus can eventually lead to symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus so it is important to work with your doctor to monitor any progression to a potentially more serious condition.
GERD and Dyspepsia Symptoms
Another set of symptoms of reflux can sometimes include the syndrome dyspepsia. Dyspepsia can include the following symptoms:
- Pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen.
- Fullness in the stomach.
- Occasional difficulty swallowing.
- Nausea after eating.
While symptoms of reflux by themselves aren’t necessarily indicative of a serious, life-threatening condition, it can lead to life-threatening conditions such as esophageal cancer after Barrett’s Esophagus (a precursor to esophageal cancer), so I recommend taking it seriously and seeking a medical professional if you experience these symptoms consistently for a relatively long period of time.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms Masking As GERD Symptoms
In addition, if you experience GERD symptoms, you might consider monitoring yourself for stomach cancer symptoms and stomach ulcer symptoms, as it isn’t uncommon for people to make the mistake of thinking they just have a little heartburn or a few symptoms of reflux when a more serious condition exists untreated.
I certainly don’t intend to elicit alarm in my readers, but these different conditions do overlap in the way they present their symptoms. You would be wise to study all of these diseases and conditions so that you can take the precautions necessary to catch these problems early and curb them before things get too serious.