Severe GERD Symptoms

People who do nothing to treat their gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have a higher risk of developing severe GERD symptoms. These symptoms are common when the esophagus becomes inflamed, esophageal ulcers develop, or the esophagus narrows because of scar tissue formation. Some common signs and symptoms of severe GERD include bleeding in the esophagus, shortness of breath, and feeling that food is getting stuck behind the breastbone after you swallow.

An Overview of Severe GERD Signs and Symptoms

For people who choose to do nothing to treat their gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), they will most likely continue to have uncomfortable heartburn. They may also begin to experience more severe symptoms of GERD that can be caused by damage to the esophagus.
 

Examples of Severe Symptoms of GERD

Possible symptoms may include:
 
  • Feeling that food is getting stuck behind the breastbone after you swallow
  • Bleeding in the esophagus
  • A choking feeling
  • Increased coughing
  • Chest pain that may be severe
  • A hoarse voice
  • Shortness of breath.
     

Severe GERD Symptoms and Associated Complications

These severe GERD symptoms are common when the esophagus has become inflamed, esophageal ulcers have developed, or the esophagus narrows because of scar tissue formation.
 
Other GERD complications are also possible. Some people develop Barrett's esophagus, where cells in the esophageal lining take on an abnormal shape and color, which, over time, can lead to cancer. About 1 out of 100 people who have severe damage to the lining of their esophagus develop a form of esophageal cancer.
 
Also, studies have shown that asthma, chronic cough, and pulmonary fibrosis may be aggravated or even caused by GERD.
 
 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

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