- chronic coughing
- difficulty swallowing
Why Does Acid Reflux Cause a Sore Throat?
During acid reflux, food particles and stomach acid are pushed up from the stomach and into the esophagus sometimes reaching the throat and mouth. The low pH of stomach acid is irritating to the tissue in the esophagus and throat. This occurs for many reasons including failure of the esophageal sphincter to close or a hiatal hernia. Sometimes acid reflux is the result of chronic poor eating habits, but it often coincides with a genetic predisposition or a medical disorder. A sore throat caused by acid reflux is usually worse in the morning because laying down makes it easier for acid to make its way up the esophagus.
When Should I See a Doctor?
The consequences of untreated acid reflux can be serious and include:
- formation of scar tissue and subsequent narrowing of the esophagus, known as a stricture
- inflammation and swelling of the esophagus
- Barrett's esophagus
- esophageal cancer
Acid reflux is first treated by a group of medications called antacids, which are taken as needed. Many over-the-counter antacids are available. If you have more than occasional heartburn that responds to over-the-counter antacids, you should consult a doctor. Generally, if you are have a sore throat, you probably need stronger and longer treatments, so discuss this with your physician.
Also, drugs known as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors can sometimes heal esophageal damage caused by reflux. Your doctor will help you to decide the best medication for your reflux and your ENT symptoms should subside after the acid reflux has been treated.
Source:National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Accessed: March 1, 2009 from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/