The Symptoms of Acid Reflux

Acid reflux may produce a variety of symptoms, making it rather difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.


Maltreatment is not at all uncommon, as the symptoms may lead doctors to diagnose a heart condition, bacterial infection, cold or pneumonia. And only when examining and treating the patient according to this diagnosis fails, do they start suspecting acid reflux.

Acid reflux rarely produces one single symptom. Though is not unheard of – some only suffer from severe coughing fits, for example –, a succession or concurrence of 4-5 different symptoms, is much more typical.

For some, the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux may vary with the change of seasons, a phenomenon medical science is yet to fully explain. The effect of these changes of seasons on hormones is thought to have something to do with it, although it might also be something much more simple:

One of the more common symptoms of acid reflux is irritated and damaged pharyngeal tissue. The gastric acid vapor may condense and pass into the trachea, causing irritations. Respiratory tract infections much more readily occur with an irritated mucous membrane, so those who have already been suffering from an irritated throat and cough, will see these worsen with the infection. More intense coughing will also have a negative effect, as it causes the abdominal pressure to grow, making each cough feel essentially like doing another crunch.

It is often hard to correctly diagnose acid reflux, because the symptoms don’t include a burning sensation in the chest and the stomach or acidic regurgitation, and many do not even realize what they are experiencing is acidic reflux.

This is called a silent reflux. The symptoms of silent reflux include a severe decay of the teeth, constant coughing triggered by throat irritation, the sensation of obstruction in the throat and even snoring.


The symptoms may be categorized by the part of the human body they adversely affect:

·         – the oral cavity

·         – the respiratory tract

·         – the digestive tract

·         – other parts


Symptoms in the oral cavity:

  • – Tooth decay – the gastric acid may damage the teeth
  • – Furry tongue – the gastric acid irritates the mucous membrane depositing a creamy coating on the tongue
  • – An unpleasant, sour taste in the mouth – caused by the gastric acid’s interaction with the oral flora

Symptoms in the respiratory tract:

  • – A blocked nose – The gastric acid causes the mucous membrane of the nose to swell. Any allergic reaction of the mucous membrane leads to a runny nose.
  • – Dysphonia – The gastric acid irritates the mucous membrane of the throat, causing pain and producing a creamy layer. This symptom causes the gradual hoarsening and loss of voice, albeit usually only temporarily.
  • – A sore throat – the gastric acid irritates and dries the mucous membrane of the throat, causing pain and a sensation of a blocked throat. Also, the pathogens cause infections more easily on a dry mucosa. This is called a lingering sore throat.
  • – Chronic cough – acidic reflux related coughing usually comes in fits. And the stronger you want to “cough up” the imaginary blockage in your throat, the stronger the fit gets. In some rare cases the coughing produces some viscous, sour-bitter sputum. This reflux-induced coughing itself increases the pressure which in turn increases the acid reflux.
  • – Asthma – According to surveys, about 60-80% of adult asthmatic patients suffer from acid reflux. Unfortunately, the reflux may intensify the symptoms of asthma, and some of the medicine typically prescribed for asthma, may intensify those of acid reflux. How can acid reflux cause asthmatic symptoms? Well, gastric acid flowing from the stomach back into the respiratory tract and the lungs, may induce breathing problems and stimulate coughing. How can asthma medicine induce acid reflux? Such medicines cause the lower part of the esophagus to relax, allowing an easier passage of the stomach content to the esophagus.

Symptoms in the digestive tract:

  • – A burning sensation in the esophagus – the gastric acid irritates the mucous membrane of the esophagus
  • – Heartburn – caused by too much gastric acid
  • – Stomach ache – induced by too much gastric acid
  • – Bloating – excessive volumes of gas generated in the bowels increase the abdominal pressure, which exerts pressure on the stomach and its content, eventually pushing it upwards towards the esophagus


Other symptoms:

  • – Pain in the chest cavity – it is not always straightforward to differentiate between the symptoms of acid reflux and those of a heart attack. This is why it is of utmost importance that if you experience any such symptoms, you consult a cardiologist. If your symptoms prove not to be related to a heart condition, you may start suspecting it is acid reflux! 


We have conducted a survey with 350 respondents:

The image below shows how many different symptoms acid reflux can have. The longer the red bar is the more people have had that particular symptom. The respondents could name multiple symptoms.

If you want your reflux-related symptoms to vanish,

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