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GORD can affect children and adults but can be treated with lifestyle changes.

GORD can affect children and adults but can be treated with lifestyle changes.
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GORD symptoms

The most common symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) include:

Heartburn

Heartburn is the main symptom of GORD. It’s a burning pain or feeling of discomfort that develops just below your breastbone and can rise up. Heartburn is often worse after eating heavy meals, lying down or when bending over.

Is it heartburn or a heart attack?

Chest pain is a very common reason for people to go to the hospital emergency department. While many of these people are suffering from a heart attack, some are experiencing severe heartburn. But it’s so difficult to tell these two apart that sophisticated medical testing is needed to determine if they are in fact having aheart attack.

If you have any chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes or any heart attack warning signs, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention by calling triple zero (000).

If you have any doubt about whether your symptoms are heartburn or a heart attack, then also seek immediate medical attention by calling triple zero (000). Remember – it’s always OK to call triple zero (000), even if it’s a false alarm.

You can check the National Heart Foundation of Australia’s Heart Attack Facts online at www.heartattackfacts.org.au.

Regurgitation

Regurgitation refers to the reflux of stomach acid and other stomach contents up into your throat and mouth, and causes an unpleasant, sour taste in your mouth.

Difficulty swallowing

About one third of people with GORD have difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, especially solids such as meat, bread and pastry.

Other symptoms of GORD

GORD can also cause other problems such as:

  • feeling or being sick
  • a persistent cough, which may be worse at night
  • chest pain
  • wheezing
  • tooth decay and gum disease
  • laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx) which causes throat pain and hoarseness
  • bad breath
  • bloating and belching

Some people may also find swallowing painful. This is caused by ulcers in the oesophagus and can happen with hot or cold solids or liquids.

If you have asthma and GORD, your asthma symptoms may become worse.

When to seek medical advice or help

If you experience symptoms such as heartburn once or twice a month, then you probably don’t need to see your doctor. You should be able to manage the symptoms yourself with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medicines.

You should see your doctor if you:

  • have frequent and severe symptoms and are using over-the-counter medications on a daily or weekly basis
  • have symptoms not fully relieved by over the counter medications or a change in your lifestyle
  • find it difficult or painful to swallow
  • are losing weight
  • have repeated vomiting or are vomiting blood
  • are taking medicines that may be causing heartburn such as aspirin or arthritis tablets
  • find exercise exacerbates your symptoms (because it could be heart disease).

Last reviewed: November 2016

Need more information?

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Gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms - myDr.com.au

Heartburn is the most noticeable of several symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).

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Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease - myDr.com.au

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is when you have frequent or severe reflux symptoms, such as regular heartburn. If you have complications of reflux, you are also considered to have GORD.

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Constipation, Motility Disorders and GORD in Children - Reflux Infants Support Association Inc

Constipation in children is quite common and can contribute to the severity of reflux. Discusses constipation, motility disorders and GORD in children.

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Asthma and gastric reflux - myDr.com.au

Recent medical research has been trying to unravel the link between asthma and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD, or GERD).

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Paediatric GORD medications and how to use them - Reflux Infants Support Association Inc

Medication is not the first line of defence in helping a child with GORD, but when other strategies don't work, your doctor may prescribe medication/s.

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Checklist for visits to the doctor - Reflux Infants Support Association Inc

Provides a checklist of reflux symptoms in children under the age of two years.

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Indigestion - myDr.com.au

Indigestion is a symptom involving pain in the stomach and sometimes heartburn or reflux, which may result from several medical conditions.

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Learn more about spitting and reflux in infants and children, including symptoms, causes, prevention, treatment and when to see a doctor for further help.

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Kids reflux - the facts and the stats - Reflux Infants Support Association Inc

Presents a selection of interesting facts and statistics about paediatric reflux

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Oesophageal cancer: what is it? - myDr.com.au

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