First, what is Acid Reflux? Acid reflux is caused from stomach acids escaping the stomach up through the lower esophageal sphincter and into the esophagus and throat. Sometimes this happens from food trapped in the sphincter or permanent damage to the sphincter from disorders such as sleep apnea.
So how do you know if you have acid reflux? There are four main acid reflux symptoms.
The first stage is simply excess burping. As you digest your food, gases start to build up. If any of the gases escape through your lower esophageal sphincter they can result in excess burping which can seem innocuous enough but can lead to the more common stage 2.
The second stage of acid reflux symptoms is what you hear about more commonly. It is a severe burning sensation in the chest (specifically the breast bone region). It is due to the stomach acids escaping the stomach, passing the lower esophageal sphincter and moving up to the chest region. Because this liquid is very acidic, it can create some very severe pain. Many people even mistakenly believe they are having a heart attack when they are struck with this acid reflux symptom.
The third stage is a sore throat. Most people assume that all there is to acid reflux is stage 2. In actual fact, the stomach acid can pass up into the throat doing damage (sometimes permanent) to the throat. The affected person may believe that the sore throat is actually caused from something else, further clouding the issue.
The last stage of acid reflux symptoms is a sour taste or even a severely sore mouth. Similar to stage 3, the acid actually makes its way all the way up to the person’s mouth again causing damage which can become permanent.
None of these acid reflux symptoms should be take lightly as they can be lead to severe pain and even cancer (which of course can lead to death). Sometimes acid reflux is also indicative of a more serious and immediate problem such as sleep apnea.
People who have sleep apnea stop breathing several times per night due to an obstruction in the throat area. Although they are not breathing, the diaphragm is moving and it draws the stomach content up from the stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter causing the various acid reflux symptoms. Typically these sufferers are affected mostly in the mornings.
As you can see, none of these four acid reflux symptoms should be ignored. If you suspect you have acid reflux, please consult your physician.