Learn about acid reflux symptoms in adults and children.
Acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) is a painful condition that occurs when stomach contents flow backward, returning through the esophagus and sometimes into the mouth. Medication and other treatments usually offer relief to acid reflux patients, but the first step is to identify the symptoms to help your doctor make the diagnosis.
The most common symptoms of GERD include heartburn, regurgitation (sour liquid coming into the mouth, often when belching), painful swallowing, wheezing, sore throat, chest pain (especially during sleep), hoarseness, chronic coughing, change in voice, chronic sour or bitter taste in the mouth, nausea or vomiting blood. Many symptoms often get worse when laying down, bending over or eating. Find additional inforamtion on GERD at the Center for GERD Care at the Highland GERD Institute.
Acid reflux can be very difficult to recognize in babies because the symptoms are similar to many other ailments. These symptoms include spitting up (especially past the age of ten months), vomiting, refusal to eat or food aversions, respiratory problems (coughing, wheezing, labored breathing), sour or bitter breath, constant or sudden crying and poor weight gain.
Once children are old enough to articulate what they're feeling, one of the main complaints associated with pediatric acid reflux is frequent stomachaches. Children experience the same symptoms as adults and babies to varying degrees: sore throat, heartburn, painful swallowing, hoarseness, regurgitation, chronic bitter or sour taste in the mouth, respiratory problems and refusal to eat or food aversions. Erosion of tooth enamel is another symptom to look for in children.
In infants, the symptoms of acid reflux include spitting up (more than normal), refusal to eat, stomachache, fussiness (particularly around meals), gagging or choking, hiccups, coughing fits (especially at night), wheezing, rattling in the chest, frequent colds, constant or sudden crying, "colic," bad breath (smells sour or bitter), poor weight gain or frequent ear infections. If a child exhibits many of these symptoms, he or she should be taken to a pediatrician who can offer treatment options such as special diets or medication.