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Uncommon Symptoms of Acid Reflux

3 min read

By Emily Lockhart

According to gastrointestinal researchers at the Mayo Clinic, acid reflux remains among the top health conditions plaguing North Americans. It’s certainly true that most of us have experienced that telltale burning bubbling up in our throat or behind our breastbone after a decadent meal and a little too much lounging around watching TV.

If left untreated, heartburn can ricochet in a series of rather unexpected symptoms that have nothing to do with burning stomach acid discomfort. Let’s take a look..

1. Sour Taste

Research published by the American Journal of Medicine claims that stomach acid rebounding back up into the esophagus can cause a bitter, foul, or sour taste in your mouth and in the back of the throat.

In fact, says that “silent reflux” is the term used by medical professionals to explain the regurgitation of stomach contents and acids back up into the mouth and esophagus.

2. Difficulties Swallowing

If you feel a scratching, clawing, and narrowing of your throat when attempting to swallow, Healthline notes that you may suffer from acid reflux.

The source explains that chronic reflux can lead to benign esophageal stricture, a condition that can result when stomach acid irritates and damages the lining of the esophagus with time, causing scar tissue and esophagitis (or inflammation) to develop.

3. Unexplained Pneumonia

Research from 2009 that was published in the National Institutes of Health notes a link between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that can trigger or worsen existing pulmonary diseases (i.e., chest congestion, asthma, and pneumonia).

The NIH study found that local irritation due to stomach acid backlash in the esophagus can result in abdominal pain as well as coughing, wheezing, and chest discomfort that develops as unexplained pneumonia in the lungs.

4. Asthma

Like unexplained pneumonia, chronic breathing difficulties such as asthma can be the result of acid reflux, according to research from WebMD.

The source also notes that roughly 75-percent of treatment-resistant asthma patients also suffer with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is why asthma patients are twice as likely to suffer from acid reflux compared to non-asthma patients.

5. Excess Saliva Production

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I usually associate the mouth watering with the tantalizing scent of fresh baked bread. On the negative side, the mouth can produce excess saliva associated as a warning signal that you’re about to vomit.

However, Dr. Joseph Murray, GI researcher and doctor with the Mayo Clinic, notes that excess saliva production can be a symptom of acid reflux as well.  Dr. Murray explains that similar to when you’re about to vomit, with acid reflux the salivary glands are triggered due to irritation in the esophagus.

6. Chest Pain

I remember an episode of Two and Half Men when Charlie (Sheen) mistook a bout of bad gas for a heart attack. This sitcom cliché isn’t so humorous in real life.

However, in real life patients can sometimes mistake acid reflux for a heart attack due to intense chest pain, or tragically, vice versa. Either way, always go to the hospital if you think you’re having a heart attack.

Emily Lockhart


Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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