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Can GERD Cause Nausea and Dizziness?

October 25, 2019

Acid reflux is so common that you would likely have a hard time finding someone who has never experienced heartburn. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is when heartburn becomes a chronic condition. Some patients associate their GERD with nausea. Something that may seem to make less sense, is dizziness from reflux. While it is not a commonly recognized symptom, it can be related to your GERD.

Nausea and GERD

When a patient experiences reflux, they may have stomach contents and acid reaching far up their esophagus. This can lead to damage as well as leave a lingering taste in the mouth as the acid creeps upward. Partnered with difficulty swallowing, coughing, and belching with GERD, many patients feel nauseated or experience vomiting. Indigestion has also been reported by some patients.

If you have not been diagnosed with reflux or GERD, but do have frequent nausea, it is worth exploring with your primary care provider or specialist whether GERD could be the culprit. For some patients with silent reflux, some of the more recognizable symptoms aren’t present, but GERD could still be damaging the esophagus nonetheless. Discuss your nausea with your doctor. It may be time for an upper GI study to determine what is going on.

Dizziness and GERD

A less common symptom that can be attributed to GERD is dizziness. This can occur for a few reasons. When acid refluxes into the upper GI system, it can affect the tubes that lead to the inner ear. When these tubes become irritated, swelling can occur, causing a loss of balance. This symptom is thought to be more common with GERD that occurs when lying down after a meal. There is also some research indicating a link between GERD and ear infections.

Dizziness could also be a side effect of a medication you are taking to keep your GERD at bay. Check the label of your medication to see if dizziness is a known side effect. If your issues are severe, it may be worth talking with your doctor about alternate, more permanent treatments for your GERD with fewer side effects.

Unfortunately, dizziness can be a symptom of many conditions and it is often hard to pinpoint its exact cause. When discussing with your doctor, be sure to include all the information you can, as it can be hard to say what is and is not related when it comes to your health.

How Can GERD Be Treated?

While there are medications available to help patients suffering with the side effects of GERD, medications do not fix the problem. The underlying cause of GERD is a weak Lower Esophageal Sphincter, or LES. The only way to correct this weakness is with surgical treatment. Luckily, GERD surgery can typically be performed safely and effectively in a minimally invasive manner. At Advanced Bariatrics & Surgical Specialists, Dr. Chang offers an incisionless surgery known as Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication procedure or TIF. To learn more about surgical treatment for GERD, we invite you to contact our office.

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