If you've ever partaken in late night pizza, only to lie in bed afterwards cursing your decision, then you probably know a thing or two about acid reflux. This is the oh-so-common feeling of heartburn and indigestion, and it's pretty darn easy to recognize. Sometimes, however, there are weird symptoms of acid reflux that aren't so obvious. They can leave you suffering, and questioning, for days.
But regardless of your symptoms (weird or otherwise), heartburn issues always come from the same place. Namely, pesky stomach acid that has traveled up your throat. As Dr. Cederquist, MD, founder of bistroMD, says in an email to Bustle, "Acid reflux is when the acid in the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The lining of the esophagus is much different than the stomach, which is able to withstand the strong acid needed to digest food." Once that acid is in your esophagus, you can expect pain and burning (as well as a frantic search for antacids).
Eating late at night, heavy meals, too much alcohol, smoking, and eating acidic foods can all trigger these symptoms, according to Cederquist. If you're having a problem with heartburn, it's best to lay off these things for a while. And you should also be on the lookout for lesser known symptoms of acid reflux, so you don't go on suffering needlessly. Below are some of the weirder signs of heartburn.
1. A Scratchy Throat
When acid comes up your esophagus, it can cause quite the annoying scratchy feeling in your throat. This is due to irritation, according to Cederquist, and it can lead to chronic hoarseness. So if you're always clearing your throat, or constantly reaching for cough drops, it may be acid reflux that's to blame.
2. A Bad Taste In Your Mouth
All of that acid coming up can also create a bad taste in your mouth, according to Amanda Gardner on Health. People often describe the taste as bitter or acidic. Pretty gross, I know.
3. A Nagging, Dry Cough
Have you been coughing up your lungs as of late? That aforementioned irritation, caused by the acid in your throat and lungs, can lead to a dry, nagging cough, according to Cederquist. It's definitely something to watch out for.
4. Pain When You Lie Down
Sometimes heartburn can make it difficult to lie down without feeling like your chest is on fire. This is due to stomach acid escaping your stomach, and flowing the wrong way into your esophagus. "That's why people with chronic heartburn raise the head of their bed, and why they shouldn't eat big meals right before bedtime," Gardner said.
5. Your Asthma Is Worse
Has your asthma been acting up? According to Cederquist, asthma is aggravated by reflux, and some people even believe that acid can cause asthma in the first place. When that's the case, it's definitely worth getting checked out by a doctor.
7. Your Breath Is Kickin'
If you brush and floss on the regular, but still suffer from stinky breath, it may be worth a visit to your dentist. Dentists can often tell if acid reflux is to blame by checking out the state of your teeth. According to Regina Boyle Wheeler on EverydayHealth.com, "... people with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) often experience acid erosion of their teeth and an inflamed red throat, especially around the tonsil area." Once you know, treating the reflux will hopefully help your breath.
8. You Feel Weirdly Nauseous
This one happened to me when I was in college. I was nauseous all the damn time, but never actually "sick." It was driving me crazy, and causing me to miss class after class. Turns out, I had acid reflux. Once I got it under control, my nausea magically went away.
9. You Have Way Too Much Spit
Here's a particularly strange symptom — extra saliva. According to the University of Chicago Medicine, excessive saliva is another symptom of GERD. (As a side note, acid reflux is the backing up of stomach acid, while GERD is a disease state of which acid reflux is part, according to Mark Babyatsky, MD, on EverydayHealth.com. If you think you have GERD, go get checked out!)
10. You Have Trouble Swallowing
Struggling to swallow can be a scary experience, and acid reflux may be the cause. "Over time, the continuous cycle of damage and healing after acid reflux causes scarring," noted Gardner. "This, in turn, causes swelling in the lower-esophagus tissue, resulting in a narrowing of the esophagus and difficulty swallowing." Not good!
11. You Have A Case Of The Hiccups
Hiccups are kind of cute when they happen once or twice. But a bunch in a row can get pretty annoying, and leave you wondering what is the cause. Well, according to Healthinline.com, there are a bunch of hiccup triggers, including indigestion. This is usually due to eating spicy foods, overeating, or carbonated beverages, which are all well-known hiccup-inducers.
If you have any of these symptoms, make a few lifestyle changes, as Cederquist suggested above. But if nothing changes, or you think the problem is getting worse, definitely go see a doctor. With a little treatment, your stomach will hopefully back to good working order.
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