Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a very common condition that can affect anyone throughout the lifetime. Commonly known as acid reflux, it is a condition that is usually identified by the symptoms like –
- Acid taste in mouth
Apart from these symptoms, there is yet another common symptom of acid reflux that is quite difficult to cope with and that is sore throat.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Sore Throat?
Yes, acid reflux can frequently cause sore throat. Many people mistake the cause of sore throat with other factors and are not well aware of the possibility of acid reflux to be one of the major causes behind this condition. Knowing about acid reflux and its impacts will help in understanding the relation between acid reflux and sore throat.
The Mechanism of Acid Reflux Causing Sore Throat
When, the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a muscle that is shaped as a ring and is located at the bottom of the esophagus, is weakened, it pushes the contents of the stomach backward into the esophagus. This causes the Acid Reflux.
To state this in simpler words, the function of the lower esophageal sphincter is to help the food and drinks that we consume, stay inside the stomach. It acts like a valve that opens to let the food and drinks go down into the stomach, but stays closed so that these food particles as well as the stomach contents cannot flow back reversing the movement direction. However, when the lower esophageal sphincter weakens, it fails to stay closed tightly. Consequently, the stomach acids creep back to the esophagus. Hence, a burning sensation is felt in the heart and even the throat feels sore.
Symptoms of Sore Throat Caused by Acid Reflux
When you have Acid Reflux, you will constantly feel as if something is stuck at the back of your throat. Therefore, you will constantly feel the need to clear your throat away. Despite that, the throat would not get cleared. This is because the stomach acids reflux into the pharynx, which is the back of the throat.
Along with this atypical symptom, there is the common feeling of hoarseness and throat soreness as one suffers from Acid Reflux. When the stomach acids reach the larynx or the voice box, you will feel that the voice sounds harsh. This is a condition that is more pronounced in the morning as you will wake up from a long time of sleep or lying position and lying down promotes the movement of stomach acids up to the larynx.
How do You Know that Your Sore Throat is a Result of Acid Reflux?
Sore throat is a common symptom that can occur due to a number of reasons. To make sure that it is a consequence of acid reflux and not a symptom of some other condition, you need to check the other symptoms of acid reflux or GERD. These include –
- A burning sensation in the chest and back of your throat or heartburn
- Bitter taste in mouth
- Swallowing difficulties
- Clearing out throat time and again
- Feeling like there is a lump stuck at the back of your throat.
In severe cases, this can lead to breathing problems as well, which is known as apnea. Apnea may lead to turning blue, known as cyanosis. Hence, it is a wise decision that the acid reflux problems are treated soon.
Treatments to Get Rid of Acid Reflux and Sore Throat?
Acid Reflux is not a very severe problem, but an easy one to treat. The following things will help to get rid of acid reflux and sore throat caused by acid reflux:
- Antacids: The most common treatment for acid reflux and sore throat caused due to it is to take Antacids. There are many over-the-counter antacids available that can be taken. These antacids neutralize the stomach acids and thus helps get rid of heartburn. Consequently, all other symptoms are lessened in intensity and gradually treated completely including sore throat caused by acid reflux.
- H2 Blockers: In some cases, H2 blockers are also used to treat acid reflux. These medicines function by stopping the production of stomach acids, so that the condition doesn't worsen. The H2 blockers are available in both the over-the-counter form as well as in the form of prescription medicines.
- Lifestyle Changes to Get Rid of Acid Reflux and Sore Throat Caused by Acid Reflux: Sometimes, simple lifestyle modifications can help in preventing the problem of acid reflux permanently. These would include –
- Eating small meals more frequently
- Avoiding fatty, spicy or acidic foods
- Avoiding carbonated and caffeinated drinks
- Avoiding alcoholic and acidic beverages
- Do not lie down immediately or within a few hours of eating.
Though these would help you to get rid of the acid reflux along with the sore throat, if the condition occurs repeatedly, seeing a doctor is a must.