Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, include sensation of a lump behind the breastbone, nausea after eating and heartburn, states MedlinePlus. Rare symptoms include hiccups, wheezing, regurgitation, difficult swallowing and sore throat.
Symptoms of gastroesophageal disease may worsen after eating, with lying down or bending, or at night, notes MedlinePlus. A person with GERD who experiences weight loss, coughing, bleeding, shortness of breath or persistent vomiting should contact a doctor. Other symptoms that require medical attention include difficulty or painful swallowing, and hoarseness.
GERD occurs when a muscle ring at the lower esophagus fails to close up completely, causing tomach acid to enter the esophagus, explains MedlinePlus. The acid may cause damage to esophageal lining. Smoking, obesity, scleredoma and pregnancy may predispose a person to the condition. Certain medications, including beta blockers, sedatives, tricyclic antidepressants, dopamine-active drugs and anticholinergics, may trigger the problem as well.
Nonprescription antacids may help reduce symptoms; however, the drugs may cause constipation and diarrhea, according to MedlinePlus. H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors may also provide relief. Losing weight if overweight and avoiding medications that may aggravate the problem, including aspirin and ibuprofen, may help as well. If left untreated, GERD may cause esophageal ulcers; chronic cough; bronchospasm, which is irritation of the esophagus; and other serious complications.