How Acid Reflux Affects Your Throat

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Photo by Kat Jayne on

Do you clear your throat often? Do you have trouble swallowing at times? Do you have frequent heartburn or a nasty, bitter taste in the back of your throat? You probably have acid reflux or also called GERD.

There are sphincter muscles at both ends of your esophagus tube that carries food to your stomach. They tighten to keep food down, but when the lower half doesn’t tighten enough, the acid flows back from your stomach into your esophagus. This may cause heartburn. And in some people the upper esophageal sphincter doesn’t work well, and the acid travels higher and enters your throat.

Common throat systems:

  • feels like you’re choking
  • feels like a lump in your throat
  • hoarseness
  • trouble swallowing
  • need to clear throat often
  • chronic cough
  • sour or acid taste
  • sore throat

When to contact doctor:

  • heartburn causes you to vomit
  • vomiting blood
  • black or tarry stools
  • more saliva than normal
  • weight loss more than 5% of total body weight in a month
  • wheezing
  • choking easily
  • pain when swallowing
  • feeling of food caught in chest or throat

Home Care Treatment:

  • avoid lying down after meals, wait at least an hour or two
  • avoid eating late at night
  • elevate the head of your bed
  • avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, especially around the stomach-waist area
  • avoid acidy foods such as tomatoes, oranges, bananas
  • limit chocolate and mints
  • decrease the amount of caffeine in your diet
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • limit alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks a day
  • certain medications can cause heartburn such as oxybutynin, benzatropine, theophylline, calcium channel blockers, and some nitrates.
  • limit over the counter aspirin and ibuprofen.

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