Acid reflux disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a common condition that develops when acid and the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. It can cause pain and inflammation, and over time, the lining of the esophagus may be damaged. There is no cure for the condition, so once a person begins experiencing symptoms, it will likely be a chronic condition. Several medications--both prescription and over the counter--can help treat the symptoms of acid reflux, as well as limit the ability of the stomach to produce acid. Women and men generally experience the same signs and symptoms, but women can be more bothered by acid reflux when they are pregnant.
The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which occurs when acid from the stomach moves into the esophagus after eating. Most people experience heartburn as a burning pain in the middle of the chest, but some people also feel the pain in the abdomen or neck and in some cases it can be sharp and severe.
Some women with acid reflux disease will experience nausea as a symptom of the condition. This feeling of queasiness does not occur in all people, and it is mostly experienced by people who do not experience severe heartburn.
Women with acid reflux disease may sometimes experience bouts of vomiting as a sign of the condition. Vomiting is more common in people with nausea, but some women who never experience nausea will experience what seems like unexplained vomiting.
Difficulty swallowing can be a sign of acid reflux disease. This occurs because of the acid moving back into the esophagus from the stomach.
Acid reflux can sometimes cause a sore throat or voice hoarseness. A sore throat occurs when acid moves back up the esophagus, causing pain and irritation.
In some cases, people with acid reflux disease may develop a chronic cough not related to any of the illnesses it would normally develop from, such as a cold. The cough typically occurs because of throat irritation from the acid.