Our stomachs contain acids and other enzymes that allow us to metabolize our food and gain the nutrition we need. Usually these acids are not a problem for us because the stomach has a lining that protects it from their corrosive nature. Also, a muscle called the esophageal sphincter helps to keep the corrosive acids from flowing backwards from the stomach into the esophagus.
Sometimes this sphincter will become weak or open at the wrong time, allowing the stomach’s acids to leak out. This causes unpleasant burning in the esophagus and other associated symptoms. This condition is known as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and here’s a look at some of its common symptoms.
Symptom #1: Heartburn
Heartburn, also known as pyrosis, is perhaps the most common and most telling symptom of GERD. It manifests itself as a deep burning sensation in the chest and can be very unpleasant. It can also lead to an acidic sensation in the throat and the mouth.
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid can rise back up into the esophagus. The lining of the esophagus is not protected from acid as the stomach is, so the acid literally attacks the lining of the esophagus. It is most commonly experienced after eating and when laying down. Antacids are a common treatment, although surgery may be required if the heartburn is severe and regular.