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Understanding Acid Reflux and Sore Throat

The American College of Gastroenterology denoted that more than 60 million people experience heartburn – a common symptom of acid reflux- about once every month.

Commonly, acid reflux results are mainly a sensation where you experience chest burn at the rear end of your breastbone.

However, reflux is often caused due to other symptoms as well, including belching, sour tasting mouth, regurgitating food, and a sore throat.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is commonly referred to in the medical niche as gastroesophageal reflux. It occurs when the acid and other contents in the stomach come up through the esophagus. Acid reflux is a generic(1) condition that does not relate to other symptoms. A person would often undergo heartburn or indigestion.

Understanding Acid Reflux and Sore Throat

Some individuals are developing chronic reflux, while the doctors often term this as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. It leads to longer-lasting and serious symptoms. Around 20%(2) of individuals in the US have GERD.

Acid reflux causes several different conditions that include heartburn and indigestion, along with the following:

Symptoms of Acid Reflux & Sore Throat

The burning sensation in the chest is the commonly known symptom of acid reflux. Although the sore throat will not occur across each heartburn case, acid reflux and sore throat are interconnected in a few cases, specifically in GERD.

If you face a sore throat due to acid reflux, then the following are a couple of symptoms that go unnoticed:


The stomach acid would travel up to your larynx, also known as the voice box, and you might find that your voice sounds more harsh and hoarse than general. The symptom might get noticed specifically during the morning since acid is more or less going to travel up the throat while you lie down.

Throat Issues

Acid reflux leading to the back of the throat or the pharynx causes atypical conditions. You might experience a constant soreness in your throat, or where you might get to clear your throat often. Furthermore, it might appear like a lump is a present right at the back of the throat that often does not go off. The other symptoms often include trouble swallowing, hiccups, and even a nagging cough.

Respiratory Issues

People facing silent reflux would start experiencing difficulty catching their breath or wheezing due to the irritation in their airways due to the acid reflux. These would often exacerbate the underlying asthma issue making it highly tough to treat.

Tooth Decay

The stomach acid would back up right into the mouth eroding or eating away at the protective enamel of these teeth leading the teeth into becoming fragile and even discolored.

Will Acid Reflux Lead To Soreness In The Throat?

Acid reflux would surely lead to sore throat, although heartburn is the common symptom.(3)

Whenever the sore throat is caused due to the acid reflux, the individual might feel like they have a lump in the throat.

The neck and head symptoms almost link back to acid reflux, which is often misleading. The doctors, at times, would start misdiagnosing the persistence of sore throat from acid reflux, which indicates chronic tonsillitis.

Complications of Acid Reflux

Some individuals having acid reflux for a longer time might experience the following:

Shrinking of the Esophagus: The increasing levels of stomach acid will damage the cells in the lower esophagus, which results in scaring the tissues and narrowing the organ. It would make swallowing a tough job.

Tissue Erosion: The acid leads to painful ulcers known as erosive esophagitis.

Barret’s Esophagus: The condition leads to further changes in the lining of the tissues at the lower esophagus. These changes are linked with a greater risk(4) of esophageal cancer. The routine endoscopy examinations would detect the early signs of cancer in people dealing with Barret’s esophagus.

Laryngeal Pharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

Whenever gastric or stomach acid travels to the vocal cords, it causes inflammation. If it occurs almost repeatedly, it leads to frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, coughing, and feeling like something has got stuck in the throat. The name of the condition is known as laryngeal pharyngeal reflux.

It would often appear as an upper respiratory illness with symptoms that might linger as an outcome of the damage made to the vocal cords with the stem through the smaller levels of acid reflux.

Why Does it Happen?

The acid in the stomach is extremely potent as it continuously creeps back up into the esophagus while it results in severe chronic symptoms that include general heartburn.

Greater exposure to stomach acid will lead to sore throat and even affect the vocal cords, which results in hoarseness in speech.

Although the soreness in the throat arrives out of the acid reflux, which is extremely uncomfortable in the short-term while it causes long-term damage, with time, the stomach acid will damage the throat and esophagus, leading to greater difficulty in swallowing, shortness of breath, and the feeling of the food getting stuck right in the throat.

Remedies for Acid Reflux, Sore Throat

Sore throat remedies would aid you whenever you have an occasional acid reflux episode. But, the greater relief for you is to start addressing the underlying causes of chronic acid reflux. There is a couple of lifestyle changes that might start helping. You will often notice that you do not have to manage the symptoms a lot once you get proper treatment for this condition.

Lifestyle Changes

There is one of several studies that have discovered that quitting smoking can help reduce acid reflux episodes; however, the entire life quality score turns out well.(5)

A couple of foods trigger GERD and should be avoided to prevent reactions of any kind.(6) These include the following:

  • The fatty, minty, and spicy foods
  • Fruit juices and acidic fruits, along with tomatoes and citrus
  • Chocolate, coffee, and other sources of caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages such as kombucha, soda, and tonic water
  • Alcohol
  • Eating within just three hours of your bedtime

OTC Medications

You can easily get over-the-counter antacids like Rolaids and Tums to neutralize your stomach acids and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. These are highly convenient whenever you start having heartburn episodes at a dinner event. These are highly convenient, especially when you are at a dinner event and start feeling heartburn. However, they are not consumed every day.

There is a rising concern about how often we choose to suppress our stomach acid, preventing acid reflux. The research mentions that around 30% of people use acid suppressors such as antacids and still undergo the symptoms. There are a couple more researchers who are not sold on suppressing the production of acid as the mode of warding off acid reflux, terming it as counterintuitive.(7)

The following are the other OTC medicines included such as:(8)

H2 receptor blockers would help reduce the amount of acid your stomach is making. H2 receptor blockers can help reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach and aid in the healing of the esophagus. However, they do not work as long as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are stronger. H2 blockers can be purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a healthcare provider. You can purchase the H2 blockers over the counter or from your healthcare provider, who would prescribe you one.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) would help reduce the acid amount your stomach is generating. The PPIs are the best for treating the symptoms of GERD than the H2 blockers as they would heal the esophageal lining in several people suffering from GERD. You can purchase these PPIs over the counter or with the healthcare provider prescribing the one. Healthcare providers are prescribing PPIs for the long-term treatment of GERD.

The prescription and the OTC medicines will help to neutralize and reduce stomach acids by relieving the symptoms of acid reflux and sore throat.

Both are helpful medications such as histamine-2 blockers or the (H2 blockers) and antacids. These would help reduce(9) the amount of acid in the stomach, while the antacids can aid the mild symptoms of GERD or acid reflux.

Other medications work by strengthening the muscles separating the esophagus from the stomach, preventing the stomach acid from rising upwards.

Home Remedies For Acid Reflux and Sore Throat

You should try out the home remedies to help the heartburn and sore throat symptoms. You should start avoiding all foods which lead to heartburn, such as:

  • Onions
  • Tomato and tomato products
  • Spicy foods
  • Citrus
  • Fatty foods
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint

Whatever you are eating, it would matter to help in preventing heartburn. Also, make sure to avoid larger meals to help avoid eating closer to bedtime.

You should never try bending over and lying down until a couple of hours after you finish eating, and you should sit upright whenever you eat.

The other effective, helpful home remedies for sore throat and acid reflux include:

  • Chewing Gum: Smaller studies suggest chewing gums, especially sugar-free ones, for half an hour after the meal will help improve reflux.
  • Herbal Tea: Herbal teas will soothe the sore throat, and water in the tea will dilute the stomach acid and reduce pain. Make sure to add a teaspoon or two of honey that also soothes your sore throat.
  • Baking soda: Try dissolving about half a teaspoon in about four ounces of water and sipping slowly, avoiding the side effects like belching and gassiness. Baking soda will also help neutralize stomach acid, such the antacid medications.
  • A glass of milk: There are compounds in mild to help buffer stomach acid; however, you should remember that the fat content in the milk would worsen the heartburn. A single glass of skim milk or lowering the fat in a non-dairy milk alternative helps soothe your symptoms.

You can suck on the throat lozenge or such on the Popsicle, which can relieve your sore throat.

Ensure that you are drinking additional fluids in the throat that would hurt, and you simply need to avoid consuming anything which might worsen your acid reflux, like alcohol, soda, or coffee.

When Should You Visit A Doctor?

An individual should visit a doctor(10) if they have any concerning or bothersome symptoms, mainly those that might indicate underlying health issues.

It is ideal to get in touch with a doctor if the existing reflux symptoms worsen. Specifically, if these symptoms interfere with daily life, the doctor might recommend stronger medications and surgeries.

Anyone facing indigestion with chest pains, shortness of breath, or painful arm or jaw should get immediate medical attention. These are the primary symptoms indicating a heart attack.


Acid reflux causes numerous symptoms that include soreness in the throat. A person will develop such a condition, including infants. It is the treatment involving self-care strategies for older adults and kids for medications.

You can consult your doctor if any symptoms continue to affect your health adversely. Additionally, get in touch with the doctor when the acid reflux symptoms would take place with the concerned symptoms.


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 30, 2023

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