Acid reflux, also referred to as heartburn, is a hallmark symptom of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. With GERD, the muscle at the end of the esophagus either does not close properly or is too loose, which allows acid as well as food particles in the stomach to get back up to the esophagus.
The reflux is caused by the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle located at the foot of the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter acts as a valve that opens and allows food and drink to pass down to the stomach. When food and drink are already in the stomach, the lower esophageal sphincter closes to prevent a reversal of flow. When the lower esophageal sphincter is weak, it wouldn’t be able to shut tightly, allowing acids from the stomach to travel back up the esophagus. As a result, the throat may be damaged and will cause a burning sensation.
Acid reflux often coincides with a medical disorder or genetic predisposition. Sometimes, it can also be the result of unceasing poor eating habits.
Most of the time, when people experience acid reflux feel a burning sensation in their throat. Aside from that, the acid may also injure the esophagus. Lastly, acid reflux can cause throat symptoms, such as sore throat.
Acid reflux may cause a sore throat especially upon waking up in the morning, as well as after lying down for some time. Acid reflux can also cause chronic coughing, wheezing, hoarseness, bad breath, difficulty swallowing and a feeling that there’s a lump in the throat.
Why Does Acid Reflux Cause A Sore Throat?
During an episode of acid reflux, the contents such as stomach acid that goes travels up the esophagus (as well as the throat and mouth) has a low pH level which irritates the tissue of the esophagus and throat.
Can A Sore Throat Caused by Acid Reflux Be Prevented?
The answer is, yes. Do not eat immediately prior to your bedtime, as laying down makes it easier for the acid to return to the esophagus. That’s why an acid reflux accompanied with sore throat is more often than not worse in the morning
Other ways to prevent sore throat caused by acid reflux are:
- Eat foods that are low in fat
- Avoid or limit eating acidic foods
- Do not lie down flat
- Have small and frequent meals
Below are some lifestyle choices and substances which can increase the risk of having an acid reflux:
- Drinking alcohol
- Drinking carbonated beverages and caffeine
- Taking medications such as NSAIDs and aspirin
Managing A Sore Throat
The most effective way to treat a sore throat that accompanies acid reflux is to treat the underlying condition, which is GERD.
Both prescription and over the counter drugs work by removing, decreasing or neutralizing the stomach acids. When the stomach acids are neutralized, sore throat and heartburn are reduced. Certain drugs can help toughen the lower esophageal sphincter so that acids won’t be able to reflux.
- Acid reflux is also known as heartburn.
- Acid reflux often coincides with a medical disorder or genetic predisposition.
- A burning sensation in the throat is common during an acid reflux.