GERD (Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease), Acid Reflux, and Heartburn

Acid indigestion or acid reflux often feels like a burning sensation or pain in the chest and is sometimes mistaken for heart attack. It usually occurs or is made worse after eating, especially spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol or citrus juices. Smoking and caffeine may also increase stomach acid levels and cause more heartburn.

Although the heartburn itself is not usually serious, the sour tasting fluid (reflux) in the throat and problems with swallowing can be more serious. These are the symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD.

Symptoms of GERD include:
  • Pain in the middle of the chest
  • Indigestion
  • Choking or coughing while lying down
  • Regurgitation
  • Difficulty sleeping after eating (and the need to sleep in an upwardly inclined position)
  • Asthma type symptoms
  • Increased salivation
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic hoarseness or vocal cord injury, even in non-smokers