Updated 15 January 2018

Symptoms of GORD

Heartburn is the most prominent symptom of GORD.


Heartburn is a symptom associated with various gastrointestinal conditions, most notably gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), the most common condition diagnosed by gastroenterologists worldwide. 

GORD can also trigger a range of other symptoms. In fact, in some people heartburn is completely absent. These other symptoms include:

Acid regurgitation – the bringing up of undigested material from the stomach into the mouth
A non-burning chest pain
Persistent laryngitis and hoarseness because the refluxed fluid irritates the respiratory tract
Persistent sore throat
Excess burping 
Difficulty breathing
Difficulty swallowing (also called “dysphagia”) or a feeling of food getting stuck in the throat
Chronic cough
New onset of asthma or asthma only at night
Sense of lump in the throat
Worsening dental disease or erosion of tooth enamel 
Recurrent pneumonia
Chronic sinusitis
Throat clearing

Note that heartburn isn’t necessarily a sign of GORD. A study of people in whom typical reflux symptoms persisted despite treatment indicated that approximately a third of participants didn’t have GORD. Many participants had functional heartburn, i.e. no abnormality could be found.

- Reviewed by Dr Estelle Wilken, senior specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital, March 2017


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