Acid Reflux Sore Throat
Recognizing and Preventing Acid Reflux and Sore Throat
You may be asking yourself how acid reflux and sore throat symptoms can be related. The truth is, recurring acid reflux can be the direct cause of a sore and irritated throat. Acid reflux is a condition in which the sphincter at the top of the stomach fails to contain stomach acid. As a result, acid shoots up into the esophagus. The stomach has a special lining which protects it from the acid, however the lining of the esophagus does not offer the same protection. The severity of which the sphincter fails can result in varying degrees of sore throat. If a great deal of acid is allowed to into the esophagus, it can actually travel all the way up the throat and into the back of the throat. This is often likened to a burning vomiting sensation and is quite uncontrollable. If acid reflux becomes a constant affliction, the lining of the esophagus could sustain serious damage resulting in frequent discomfort.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux and Sore Throat
If you aren’t sure whether you have acid reflux, then consider some of the symptoms of this condition. A burning sensation is usually felt in the chest, near the splitting of the rib cage. This is roughly the location of the section where the esophagus connects to the stomach by the esophageal sphincter. Because of the close proximity of the heart, this sensation is called heartburn—although it has nothing to do with one’s actual heart. Burning or discomfort in the chest and/or throat and a sour taste emitting from the back of the throat are other symptoms of acid reflux. If you believe that you suffer from this condition, then you might consider some of the following measures to cut back on acid reflux and sore throat symptoms.
Change Your Diet
There are certain foods that have been proven to contribute to heartburn. Most of these foods have a loosening effect on the esophageal sphincter which causes the band of muscles there to relax, thus allowing acid to slosh back into the throat. Fried and spicy foods are among the most well-known causes of this condition, however they are only the beginning! Onions, chocolate, garlic, and citrus have been known to cause acid reflux. Certain drinks, such as alcohol, energy drinks, coffee, black tea, and soda, tend to have a stimulating effect on the sphincter as well and should be avoided, if possible. Avoidance of these foods, particularly before bed time, will help to reduce the occurrence of acid reflux and allow the lining of the esophagus to recover. You might also suffer from heartburn as a result of eating large meals. When the stomach becomes too full, the sphincter cannot always contain the contents beneath it, resulting in the regurgitation of food and acid. This can be avoided by eating several small meals a day.
Plan Meal Times
The times that you eat actually have a huge effect on this condition. Lying down shortly after eating can cause the stomach to push acid (and sometimes bits of food) back into the esophagus. It is recommended that meal times be planned at least two hours before bed time, although waiting about four hours is better, especially if you have recently eaten foods which could trigger heartburn. If you find yourself eating a late meal, you might try taking an over-the-counter acid-neutralizing, or antacid, medication such as Pepcid AC, Tums, or Rolaids. These medications can be taken after the meal but they tend to be most effective if taken right before eating.
Know When to Call the Doctor
Sometimes no matter what we do to sooth acid reflux and sore throat symptoms, we just don’t seem to find any improvement. If changes to your diet and meal times as well as taking antacid medications don’t seem to have any effect on your condition, then it may be time to see the doctor. Some people have a condition called GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) which may or may not be caused by the presence of a hernia. If a hernia is present, typical antacid medications might not be effective. Your doctor will be able to conduct a series of tests to make a proper diagnosis and will tell you about the different treatment methods available. Don’t let the fear of “bad news” keep you from seeing the doctor. It can be very dangerous to let GERD continue untreated for an extended period of time.