How Does Gerd Affect The Rest Of The Body
Jane Webb | Answered October 24, 2020
In people with GERD, the ongoing irritation in the esophagus can lead to inflammation, bleeding, ulcers, a buildup of scar tissue, and other complications. In some people with GERD, the chronic irritation causes the cells in the lining of the esophagus to change, increasing the risk of esophageal cancer.
Acid Reflux And Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath, also called dyspnea, can happen when stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus enters the lungs, causing the airways to swell.
This usually happens while sleeping or lying down, and it can cause a person to cough or wheeze when taking a breath, or make them feel breathless.
Along with shortness of breath from swollen airways, severe GERD may result in fluid in the lungs or aspiration pneumonia.
Acid reflux can also cause problems swallowing, or a feeling of food being stuck in your throat.
This may interfere with your ability to breathe effectively.
Other Possible Scenarios To Consider As Well
Reflux-induced rhinosinusitis, otitis, eustachian tube dysfunction: Reflux can cause sinus inflammation, ear inflammation, eustachian tube dysfunction, and infections in these areas. The combination of inflammation, dysfunction, and/or infection can also trigger feelings of dizziness .
Vagus nerve : Some individuals on various forums hypothesize that reflux is somehow affecting or damaging the vagus nerve and this is causing dizziness. Although this is an intriguing theory, I spoke with aGastroenterologist MD who stated :
Chronic acid reflux does NOT damage vagal nerves, nor does it cause dysfunction of the nerve. The nerves are deep-seated within muscle tissues and never exposed to the acid.
Note: True reflux-induced disequilibrium and vertigo are less common than anxiety-induced dizziness.
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How Sinus Infections Can Lead To Dizziness
Sinus infections happen when your sinus passages have inflammation and congestion. These factors contribute to pressure and sinus headaches. This inflammation or blockage may also affect your ears, resulting in dizziness from pressure or an infection.
Sinus problems may also contribute to ear infections that could cause dizziness or lightheadedness. For instance, middle ear infections may result from allergies or blockage of the Eustachian tubes, which can also cause sinusitis. Middle ear infections may cause a discharge from your ears in some cases.
If your sinus issues affect your inner ears, you could experience labyrinthitis. In addition to dizziness, you may also experience nausea and vomiting from this condition.
How Can Impaired Vision Cause Dizziness And A Balance Disorder
When the visual system is impacted, dizziness can often result.
The most common causes of vision-related dizziness include:
- Incorrect eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
- Binocular vision disorder
In many cases, dizziness is caused by binocular vision problems. If a TBI causes the eyes to be misaligned, the brain will receive conflicting signals from each eye, often resulting in a double image. This will cause eye strain as the brain attempts to put the images back together for a unified and clear view of their surroundings. The extra stress on the eye muscles can cause them to shake, which can lead to light-headedness or dizziness.
Eye misalignment that causes dizziness can be so slight that it is often overlooked in routine eye exams. For this reason, it is vital for anyone who is suffering from dizziness or balance problems to have a complete functional visual assessment to rule out visual dysfunction as a cause of the symptoms.
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Dizziness & Vertigo Directly From Refluxate
Another possibility is that theres not really any significant inflammation occurring within otolaryngologic structures to cause vertigo.
Instead what might be happening is that refluxate contents might accumulate to increase pressure in certain areas and/or alter functionality of certain structures which could cause vertigo.
Gerd Symptoms Not Recognized By Most Acid Reflux Sufferers
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, can have a variety of symptoms we do not typically associate with acid reflux. GERD is caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscular valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When functioning properly, the LES opens only to allow food and liquids to enter the stomach. However, a loose LES can allow gastric acid to backflow into the esophagus, and heartburn is only one of many symptoms.
Here are some hidden symptoms of GERD that you might not recognize as being caused by reflux:
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Bloating Or Fullness Dizziness Feeling Faint And Heartburn
- Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Reviewed on 7/13/2021
Heartburn is often a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Dizziness and feeling faint can be related to dehydration or problems with heart rhythm. Bloating and fullness may accompany irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive conditions. If you are worried about your symptoms, seek the advice of a healthcare provider to determine the exact cause.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
Is Gerd Dangerous Or Life
GERD isnt life-threatening or dangerous in itself. But long-term GERD can lead to more serious health problems:
- Esophagitis: Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation the stomach acid causes in the lining of the esophagus. Esophagitis can cause ulcers in your esophagus, heartburn, chest pain, bleeding and trouble swallowing.
- Barrett’s esophagus: Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that develops in some people who have long-term GERD. The damage acid reflux can cause over years can change the cells in the lining of the esophagus. Barretts esophagus is a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus.
- Esophageal cancer: Cancer that begins in the esophagus is divided into two major types. Adenocarcinoma usually develops in the lower part of the esophagus. This type can develop from Barretts esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the cells that line the esophagus. This cancer usually affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
- Strictures: Sometimes the damaged lining of the esophagus becomes scarred, causing narrowing of the esophagus. These strictures can interfere with eating and drinking by preventing food and liquid from reaching the stomach.
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What Causes Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is caused by weakness or relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter . Normally this valve closes tightly after food enters your stomach. If it relaxes when it shouldnt, your stomach contents rise back up into the esophagus.
Stomach acids flow back up into the esophagus, causing reflux.
Factors that can lead to this include:
- Too much pressure on the abdomen. Some pregnant women experience heartburn almost daily because of this increased pressure.
- Particular types of food and eating habits.
- Medications that include medicines for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.
- A hiatal hernia. The upper part of the stomach bulges into the diaphragm, getting in the way of normal intake of food.
How Are Abdominal Pain And Dizziness Diagnosed
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history to help make a diagnosis. Explaining your symptoms in detail will help your doctor determine the cause.
For example, upper abdominal pain may be a sign of a peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, or gallbladder disease. Lower right abdominal pain can be a sign of kidney stones, appendicitis, or ovarian cysts.
Be mindful of the severity of your dizziness. Its important to note that lightheadedness feels like youre about to faint, whereas vertigo is the sensation that your environment is moving.
Experiencing vertigo is more likely to be an issue with your sensory system. Its usually an inner ear disorder rather than a result of poor blood circulation.
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Nausea And Acid Reflux: The Connection Between Them
If youve got that horrible feeling in your throat like a burning sensation that makes it difficult to swallow, then you may have acid reflux, otherwise known as gastrointestinal reflux disease .
Unfortunately, the irritation in your throat is just one of many symptoms you may experience when you have GERD. Nausea, an uneasiness or discomfort in your stomach, is another.
Usually brought on by eating a meal too fast or eating too much, an attack of GERD can cause an unsettling feeling in your stomach and throat and can be quite embarrassing when its brought on at the most inopportune times, like on a date, or right before an important meeting.
Fortunately, youre not in this alone. Most of us will experience acid reflux at least once in our lives.
Signs And Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. People with heartburn feel a burning sensation inside their chest. Heartburn often occurs after consuming a meal. The feeling of heartburn can get more intense during the night.
The location of heartburn discomfort can cause some people to believe they might be having a heart attack. If symptoms of heartburn fail to clear up after taking medication, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Ten common symptoms that people with GERD or other forms of acid reflux experience include:
- Problems swallowing
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Can Gerd Give You Flu Like Symptoms
Lorena Curtis | Answered October 14, 2021
Gastric content reflux including acid, bile and digestive enzymes like Pepsin are believed to occur in LPR. As a result, mucosal inflammation of throat, vocal cords and nasal passages develop mimicking a viral infection.
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What To Do If Youre Experiencing A Heartburn
When in doubt about acid reflux, it is always better to be cautious and get it checked out at The Emergency Center, which has the tools and experts needed to determine the right diagnosis and start treatment.
The Emergency Center has diagnostic capabilities like ECG and advanced CT imaging to diagnose or rule out heart attack. Additionally, with an onsite lab and pharmacy, patients can find answers without the wait and get needed prescriptions before leaving. Whether it ends up being just a bad case of heartburn or something more serious, going to get evaluated is the first step in finding both care and something equally as important: peace of mind.
Enjoy life. Well be here for the bumps along the way.
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Burning Sensation Or Pressure
Those who experience vertigo as a result of acid reflux often report a noticeable burning sensation, increased pressure, or other symptoms in the ear, nose, and/or throat areas resulting from the backflow of acids and other refluxate.
Essentially the acids backflow into the upper throat, sinuses, and possibly between the ears wherein they aggravate and inflame the Eustachian tubes.
As a result, a person may report vertigo in addition to symptoms like: globus sensation inflamed sinuses even without mucus and pressure, popping sounds, or burning sensations between the ears.
Acid Reflux Headache And Fatigue
GERD symptoms can make it difficult for a person to fall asleep. If a person is unable to sleep properly, they may become fatigued.
When a person is sitting or standing, their stomach contents are at the bottom of their stomach. However, when a person lies down, their stomach contents may travel back into their esophagus.
Information from the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders states that up to 4 out of 5 people with GERD have nighttime symptoms. Additionally, 75% of people who had heartburn as a symptom stated that it affected their sleep.
- symptoms of additional complications, such as chronic cough or hoarseness
Current research does not mention specific symptoms of headaches that occur alongside GERD.
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Sudden Discomfort In The Chest Back Or Neck
Any pain, pressure or squeezing sensation in the chest, back, jaws, neck or along the arms that comes on abruptly and lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back, may signal a heart attack.
Not everyone will feel a heart attack in the chest women in particular often experience other signs. These may include pain in the jaw, neck or arms difficulty breathing light-headedness or dizziness nausea or indigestion fatigue or a cold sweat. Of course, there are many conditions other than a heart attack that can cause these symptoms. Itâs time to head to the ER if these symptoms are new, last more than a few minutes, or go away and come back.
What Is The Outlook
CFS can last for years, but many conditions that cause fatigue are treatable. With treatment comes renewed energy. Your odds of regaining your energy depend greatly on how well you treat the cause of your fatigue.
GERD can be chronic, but its possible to control it with medications, a healthy lifestyle, and the avoidance of trigger foods and drinks. You can still enjoy a varied diet while avoiding the foods that cause symptoms.
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How To Prevent Complications From Acid Reflux
You may be able to reduce acid reflux and prevent complications by adopting the following habits:
- Avoid certain foods. Greasy, fatty, acidic, and spicy foods are more likely to lead to reflux. Other foods, such as peppermint, tomato sauce, garlic, onions, citrus, and dark chocolate are also known to trigger reflux.
- Change your eating habits. Try to eat meals at least 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed or lie down. This will give your stomach time to digest the food youve eaten. Also, eating smaller portions and chewing slowly may help prevent excess reflux.
- Lose excess weight. Carrying excess weight around your middle can push your stomach upward, making it easier for acid to rise into your esophagus.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine. Both alcohol and caffeine can increase acid reflux.
- Quit smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for the sphincter that separates your esophagus from your stomach to close properly after food enters your stomach.
- Sleep on an incline. If acid reflux and heartburn strike at night, place some blocks under the head of your bed so that your upper body is slightly higher than your stomach. You can also look into special wedge pillows that are made for people with GERD.
- Wear looser clothing. Tight-fitting pants can put additional pressure on your abdomen, forcing the contents of your stomach upward.
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My Experience With Vertigo & Dizziness From Acid Reflux
An ENT diagnosed me with laryngopharyngeal reflux a condition which he thinks could result from gastroesophageal reflux disease .
That said, I dont have any prototypical symptoms of GERD .
- This was the first symptom I noticed in the ear, nose, throat area.
- Feels like a constant/eternal lump in the back of my upper throat area.
- Non-infectious inflammation of the sinuses due to refluxate. Is intermittent and worsens significantly if I eat a large meal.
- Accompanied by difficulty breathing out of the nose at night, heavy-headedness, and discolored mucus.
Eustachian tube dysfunction
- Characterized by popping noises within the ear and fluctuations between fullness sensations and normalization .
- My left ear seemed to be more affected than my right.
- I experienced otalgia as a result of extraesophageal refluxate reaching the eustachian tubes and/or inner ear and causing otitis .
- The ear pain fluctuated in severity and between ears .
Sensation behind eyes
- This was extremely subtle but noticeable.
- Made my eyes water once, but usually does not induce watering.
- Feels like a mild tickling/burning but is not itchy.
Vertigo & dizziness
After a month or so of not knowing that I had LPR I continued living life and hoped whatever I had would go away.
- Afraid of falling
- Feeling like Im about to fall
Urgent care doctor thought possible sinusitis but ENT suspected it was LPR.
Thankfully it seems to be improving or at least staying mild.
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The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
Before we get into the best treatment methods, lets delve into the common and uncommon symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. It is quite often that people suffering from gastrointestinal problems will experience these side effects that can take control of what you eat.
Also, knowing all of these symptoms can help you to determine whether its necessary to visit your family doctor for a course of treatment.