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My Experience of GERD Symptoms

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Symptoms of Acid Reflux

I suffer from GERD—gastroesophageal reflux disease. This condition is also referred to as acid reflux. I’ve had it for years and have often suffered from some terrible GERD symptoms. In fact, I spent last night in the emergency room because of some scary and very painful acid reflux symptoms. I had stopped taking my Aciphex, which had been controlling my symptoms very well. I had recently received a letter from my insurance company indicating that they would no longer be covering this medication, and I was advised to take over-the-counter Prilosec (omeprazole) instead. However, I soon discovered that this new medication did not stop my GERD symptoms.

Acid reflux symptoms can involve the stomach or esophagus.

Acid reflux symptoms can involve the stomach or esophagus.

My Acid Reflux Symptoms

As soon as I stopped taking Aciphex, I got a sore throat and an earache. I thought it was probably a viral infection or a sinus infection. The sore throat lasted for several days, and as with most sore throats, it was painful to swallow. After the sore throat was gone, swallowing was still painful. In fact, every time I swallowed, I experienced pain in my esophagus and pressure in my chest. I was also burping often and felt bloated. I knew these were symptoms of GERD, so I doubled up on my over-the-counter omeprazole.

Did this work? No, my acid reflux symptoms got worse. I began to have sharp pains in my stomach. Another GERD symptom I experienced was pain in the center of my back, under my shoulder blades. At the time, I didn’t associate the symptoms with acid reflux. The pain got so bad that I began to think that I had a perforated ulcer, pancreatitis, or a ruptured spleen.

I also had chills, a low-grade fever, and a distended abdomen. I felt as if my belly were a balloon ready to burst. Another scary acid reflux symptom was that it was difficult for me to breathe. I was also nauseous and had little appetite.

I’m not one to run to the doctor quickly, but last night, the symptoms of GERD were so bad that they woke me from sleep. I arrived at the local emergency room, sure that there was something terribly wrong with me. I have a high threshold for pain, but by the time I arrived at the hospital, the GERD symptoms had me in tears. My blood pressure was 190/70. It’s normally 120/70, and the nurse told me it was elevated because of the pain I was in.

Demerol and IV Pepcid helped relieve my acid relux symptoms.

Demerol and IV Pepcid helped relieve my acid relux symptoms.

How My Symptoms of GERD Were Treated

The doctors and nurses ran all kinds of tests. At first, they thought I was having a gall bladder attack. And the symptoms of GERD are similar. I told them, however, that I didn’t have a gall bladder; it had been removed years ago, so that couldn’t have been the cause for my symptoms of reflux. Next, they considered cardiac problems, but my EKG and cardiac enzymes tests were normal. They did more tests and x-rays.

My esophagus and stomach lining were inflamed – classic symptoms of reflux. I was given Demerol for pain, Phenergan, and an IV bag of Pepcid (famotidine). I didn’t even know you could get Pepcid in IV form! Of course, the Demerol helped relieve the pain—a lot.

I still wasn’t convinced that all my pain was associated with acid reflux symptoms. I was sent home, however, and was able to sleep for almost eight hours—the first good sleep I’d had in days. Today, my pain is almost completely gone. I guess I was suffering from GERD symptoms.

Acid relux symptoms can make you feel miserable.

Acid relux symptoms can make you feel miserable.

Typical Symptoms of GERD

Most people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease share similar symptoms of acid reflux. These GERD symptoms include heartburn or burning pain in the chest. Some people who suffer from acid reflux might also experience pain or pressure in the neck, back, and/or abdomen. With my acid reflux, it was more of a squeezing pain, with sharp spikes in my stomach and back.

Another common acid reflux symptom is regurgitation. A small amount of stomach acid, and even partially digested food, can rise up the esophagus and into the throat. This happened to me before I began taking Aciphex. A couple of times, I had a related acid reflux symptom. Heartburn acid was regurgitated as I slept, and I inhaled part of it. I woke up choking and coughing, and my lungs felt like they were on fire.

One GERD symptom is tooth damage.

One GERD symptom is tooth damage.

Unusual Symptoms of GERD

In addition to the common symptoms of reflux mentioned above, you might also experience some unusual symptoms of acid reflux.

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Nausea and vomiting. These are not common symptoms of GERD, but some patients experience them.

Tooth erosion. Stomach acid is powerful, and when it rises to your mouth, it can adversely affect your teeth. It can eat through the tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.

Ear ache. Yes, believe it or not, acid reflux can affect your ears. How is this possible? When heartburn acid backs up into your mouth, it can enter your Eustachian tubes – the tubes between your throat and ears - and cause an ear ache.

Hoarseness. The heartburn acid can irritate your vocal cords, causing a raspy voice. If you’re a singer, you might also notice that your voice range has decreased. This has happened to me, too. I was always a first soprano, but now I can’t reach the high notes that I could before, experiencing frequent bouts of acid reflux.

Globus. Globus is the feeling that something is stuck in your throat when, in fact, your throat is clear. If you have chronic acid reflux, you might also find that you clear your throat a lot.

If you have acid reflux symptoms, see your doctor!

If you have acid reflux symptoms, see your doctor!

Your Acid Reflux Symptoms

If you suffer from acid reflux, your GERD symptoms might be different than mine. I’m convinced that everyone’s body is unique and that no two people will have the exact same symptoms of reflux. You might experience only one GERD symptom, or you might experience all of the above. Amazingly, some people have GERD without having any acid reflux symptoms at all.

If you’re having symptoms of GERD, see your physician immediately. Sure, the symptoms of acid reflux are annoying and can be painful, but if left untreated, GERD can become serious. It can erode the lining of your esophagus and lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition. GERD symptoms can also lead to ulcers, bleeding of the esophagus, and strictures of the esophagus.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: What causes burping?

Answer: Excess or trapped gas cause burping.

Question: What is "strictures of the esophogas"?

Answer: It is the tightening of the esophagus.


Joseph A Murphy on July 25, 2018:

Please explain difference between GERDand Shevsky’s. Ring l

I suffer from Shevsky ‘s and have to undergo esophageal dilations often , usually once a year

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on January 21, 2013:

My doctor recently told me that I might have GERD. I have the symptoms especially the heartburn and the nausea. I cough a lot even though my lungs are clear. I'm starting with mild antiacid meds.

MEOW on July 26, 2012:

I also have a rash on my face, chills, nausea, low grade fever, dizziness pressure under the rib cage sometime on the right side throat feels slightly sore, lymph nodes are swollen

and my ears slight pain. Even after all those tests I have never been diagnosed with GERDS, but my symptoms are just like yours, I'm hope a naturopathic dr can come up with a natural solution. I want to THANK YOU for writing this article you have really made me realize that the symptoms I'm having may be GERDS I think everyone is different different gentics, life style , family history which makes all the difference in the world.

MEOW on July 26, 2012:

OH MY GOSH, Yours symptoms are so similar to mine. I have been to many doctors I had every scan, ultra sound, xray colonscopy, endoscopy, CT contrast, I have fever, chills, dizziness, slight sore throat, my ears hurt my neck feels stiff so does the middle of my back at times,,, , I have flu like symtoms almost everyday my life has been wrecked ...I have a nice husband who has been so nice and accomodating, I had only two test show up positive SIBO and I now have a kidney infection both of these I have never ever had in my life. They have checked me inside out, It has been one year and I have four doctors and now I have a referral to infectious disease to see the heavy hitters. but what is so odd I have your symptoms...this makes me really wonder what I really have ,

rmcrayne from San Antonio Texas on January 22, 2012:

This hub is on New Health Tips too.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 23, 2010:

Yep, Ictodd, GERD is a real pain! Glad you found some relief.

Linda Todd from Charleston on November 20, 2010:

Habee; I take the Prilosec and it works great. I don't like taking anything period but if I leave it off it starts up the throat like you described and burns. I have vomited before. Prilosec used to be precription, I thought??? Anyway, it isn't cheap where I live but it does do its job for me. I am so glad.

This hub is well explained and very useful to those of us who have this. Thanks for sharing this.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on September 23, 2010:

That's the first time I had it, too, Nancy.

nancy_30 from Georgia on September 10, 2010:

Thank you for sharing all this useful information. The only times I've had problems with acid reflux was when I was pregnant. It kept me up most nights.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 16, 2010:

Sorry for your troubles, Thumb. thanks for sharing your experiences with GERD!

Thumb86 from Wales on August 16, 2010:

Very useful info for those who suspect that they have GERD. My GERD story is a long and horrible one. I also had a few other unusual, sobering symptoms with mine..Such as dizzy spells/lightheadedness which, in my opinion is caused by vagal nerve irritation..Palpitations (vagus nerve interference again imo!)esophageal spasms and I even found blood in my mouth at times..I also aspirated stomach contents and had bouts of gastric asthma. I think I had severe episodes of GERD and I may have a Hiatus Hernia, Im waiting for an endoscopy after living with it and hoping it would go away for 8 months! Its much better now but Im still prone to flare ups..I took Omeprazole and it wasn't very effective..Lansoprazole eased it up a little.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

Bayou, you sound like me! I don't have to elevate my legs, though. Instead, I'm supposed to sleep on my back with a pillow under my knees for my back condition. Problem is, I cannot sleep on my back!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

Scribe, thanks for the tips!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

Ugh, Vocal - I hope I NEVER have that pain again!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

HH, most of the health bill won't be enacted for a few more years.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 06, 2010:

Grany, I couldn't WAIT for them to remove my gall bladder!!

bayoulady from Northern Louisiana,USA on August 05, 2010:

habee, I have GERD,too. not trying to be a doctor, but in addition to elevating my head four inches, I was told not to eat anything for three hours prior to to lying down. I tell you , I am a comical sight at night! I have sleep apnea, so there's me all hooked by hose and mask. Gerd means I elevated the head, and then...THEN..I have to elevate my legs on 3 or four pillows because of lymphedema in both legs! I may as well be on a hammock!LOL!


Scribe For Hire from Connecticut on August 04, 2010:

Thanks for the info!

I suffer from esophagitis occasionally and have had very good results with aloe vera juice. I take a 1/4 cup in the morning and 1/4 cup before bed. It's very soothing and the results are almost immediate.

I have also had accupuncture treatments which have helped too.

Peppermint candies also work very well.

Most mainstream physicians do not believe in any of these treatments -- just want to prescribe a drug.

You need to be very proactive in your healthcare.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on August 04, 2010:

I am so sorry that you have suffered so much. I was hospitalized 3 days for what was thought to have been a heart attack. Scared me to death. Turned out to be a bad case of GERD brought on by a med I was prescribed by a DR for ostenpenia (weak bones due to lack of calcium and vit. D). Very glad you wrote this hub to alert people about typical symptoms. Did not know about stomach acid attributing to tooth decay. Very glad to know about that.

I feel so bad for you and pray that you will never have to experience something like that again. Wishing you peace, joy and especially good health. Vote a big thumbs up!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 04, 2010:

Checking back, I am glad to read it. But isn't that health - whatever it is called - in yet? Like the NHS. I thought they passed it through by now.

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on August 04, 2010:

My son has acid reflux I hate to see him suffer. I had my Gall Bladder out too. Now I feel great! It was very painful. Now I can eat whatever I want. Great hub

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

Martie, I had gall bladder disease, but no stones. That was no fun, either!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

Yeah, NIfty - just one of the perks of aging! lol

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

I got my med for GERD, Sheila! Thanks!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

Val, I get so sick of insurance companies, including Medicare! First I was taking Prevacid for acid reflux, then the insurance company told me to switch to Aciphex. Now they no longer cover it. Ugh!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

Deb, thanks so much for your email. I really appreciate it!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

HH, you are such a dear friend. I'm much better now. I started on a new med that my insurance covers. I only have to pay a $25 co-pay, and it's well worth it!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2010:

No, Rob - GERD can be very painful!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on August 03, 2010:

I had this once – found out later it was caused by the gall bladder filled with stones. Horrible! As far as I remember Gerd can also arise when the valve at the mouth of the stomach fails to close properly. That can be rectified by a surgeon. Strongs!

nifty@50 on August 03, 2010:

I think reflux is fairly common as you age, didn't know that much about Gerd.... until know, Thanks for the info!

sheila b. on August 03, 2010:

How awful for you! I didn't know how serious this is. I hope your insurance company will pay for the medicine you need now.

valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on August 03, 2010:

very informative hub. My sister has this problem, though I have never had it. It is also a sign of Ovarian cancr in many caes, a disease heriditary in my family, so we take notic of it. she has had the problem off and on for years, and also dealt with her insurance company switching her to a generic brand that did not work for her. INsurance companies, again! They seem to be in the profit business, not the treatment business. Hope you stay well, as such physical trauma is hard to deal with, and well as frightening. Voting up and useful. (:v

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on August 03, 2010:

Habee, This was very informative! Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Joy,Peace & Blessings! Pray ALL is well!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 03, 2010:

Oh, Holle, my poor Holle, I am so sorry to read this. I can imagine it is awful. I do have acid coming up now and then, and it it awful. You really must have been in agony. Are you getting any medicine now? Does it help? Please let us know how you getting on. I sincerely wish you a speedy recovery. God bless. Gosh you poor thing an only because of those damm medicine the insurance can't afford. What about all the other people who pay and don't have any medicine out?

Rob from Oviedo, FL on August 03, 2010:

I suffer from acid reflux. Its no fun. Thanks for the informative Hub.

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