The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn. Almost everyone experiences heartburn occasionally. It happens when the esophagus is exposed to stomach acid for long enough to become irritated. The pain or discomfort caused by heartburn usually starts in the middle of the chest, and can move up through the throat. It may feel like food is moving up and out of the stomach, and it can cause an acidic or sour taste in the mouth. This discomfort may last for several hours, and it's often worse after eating certain foods or large meals, lying down, or bending over.
Less common symptoms of GERD include:
* pain and/or difficulty with swallowing
* a sore throat
* breathing problems similar to asthma.
For people who only get occasional heartburn, over-the-counter medications often relieve the discomfort. BUT if you experience heartburn two or more times a week, OR if over-the-counter antacids work only temporarily or not at all, you may have GERD.