Attack of the Silent GERD
How to use your voice, teeth and lungs to identify symptoms of silent GERD
While a majority of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients experience painful symptoms like acid reflux and frequent heartburn, GERD’s symptoms aren’t always so detectible. When heartburn doesn’t shed light on potential GERD, there are a variety of symptoms to identify the disease’s acidic damage to the respiratory system, teeth, voice box and throat.
Check out some of these symptoms associated with silent GERD:
Respiratory issues could point to GERD. As a result of airway irritation caused by acid reflux, some sufferers of silent GERD often wheeze or experience difficulty catching their breath. If you suffer from an existing respiratory disorder, acid reflux can potentially exacerbate symptoms of asthma, making it more difficult to treat.
Tooth decay could point to GERD. Heartburn, occasional acid reflux and GERD can cause stomach acids to flow up the esophagus and into the mouth. This backflow of stomach acid can erode or eat away the enamel of teeth. As a result, teeth can become discolored and fragile, and if the reflux continues to go untreated the tooth damage can be costly to correct.
Hoarseness could point to GERD. Oftentimes, GERD can cause stomach acids to flow up the esophagus and onto the voice box or larynx. Sufferers of silent GERD may notice that their voice tends to sound more hoarse than usual if this occurs. This specific symptom of silent GERD may be particularly noticeable in the morning after sleeping as acid tends to creep up the throat when people are lying down for long periods of time.
Throat issues could point to GERD. When acid refluxes into the back of the throat, or pharynx, it can cause uncommon symptoms of GERD. If patients suffer from a chronically sore throat or find they need to constantly clear their throat, this may be a sign of GERD. In addition to sore throat, silent GERD suffers have also reported a lump-like feeling in the back of their throat, frequent hiccups, nagging cough and difficulty swallowing.
These silent symptoms of GERD can grow to be just as frustrating as heartburn and acid reflux. While medications and lifestyle remedies can sometimes provide temporary symptom relief, the only way to successfully treat GERD may be through surgical intervention like fundoplication. Dr. John Bagnato specializes in minimally and non-invasive surgical techniques, making it possible to fix a damaged lower esophageal sphincter without a single incision.
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of silent GERD, it’s best to contact your reflux specialist in Macon.