What Are Symptoms and Causes of GERD?

Symptoms of GERD include heartburn that may spread to the throat, a sour taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing and pain in the chest, according to Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include acid reflux, sore throat, hoarseness and feeling like there is a lump in the throat.

A backup of stomach acid or bile in the esophagus causes GERD, states Mayo Clinic. If GERD symptoms become frequent or severe, it is important to seek medical attention. GERD can produce symptoms similar to those of a heart attack, so it is important to seek immediate medical assistance if chest pain occurs, especially if shortness of breath or pain in the jaw or arm is present. People who take heartburn medicines more than twice per week should talk to a physician about better solutions.

GERD may occur if the lower esophageal sphincter becomes too weak or relaxed, causing stomach acid to flow into the esophagus, notes Mayo Clinic. This may lead to other health complications, such as an inflamed esophagus, a narrowing esophagus, bleeding or a precancerous condition called Barrett's esophagus. Inflammation in the esophagus can also wear down the lining of the esophagus over time, and stomach acid can erode tissues in the esophagus, which can cause open sores.