Acid reflux is caused when stomach acids leak into the esophagus. Heartburn, nausea, sore throats, hoarseness, swallowing difficulties, and regurgitation can all be caused by acid reflux. Acid reflux is common and often treatable through a few simple changes in lifestyle.
Causes of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can be caused by a number of things, many of them lifestyle-based.
- Cigarette and alcohol consumption
- Poor eating habits (including fried, fatty, acidic, and overly spicy foods)
- Caffeinated drinks
- Bad posture
- Certain medications
Treating reflux can be as simple as making certain lifestyle changes, like avoiding foods and beverages that trigger reflux, quitting smoking, losing weight, and improving your posture.
Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease (GERD)
A common idea is that heartburn is often caused by certain foods, and while this is true in some cases, consistent, painful heartburn as a daily occurrence could be indicative of a more serious issue. Gastroesophogeal reflux disease is a fairly common condition, with 10 to 20 percent of the population potentially affected by it. In most cases, heartburn can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes, but some may require medication or surgery.
In some cases, GERD can cause severe pain for as long as two hours, and is often worse after eating. Treatment usually consists of removal of foods, beverages, and smoking from the life of the affected individual. Certain foods, drinks, and habits can irritate or damage esophageal lining, such as:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Tomato-based sauces and drinks
- Spicy foods and pepers
- Chocolates and other fatty foods
Antacids are also useful in neutralizing acid in the esophagus and stomach, but treatment of this condition should be unique to you as an individual. If you’re concerned about how painful or reoccurring your heartburn is, and you’ve tried cutting out consumption of products that might cause heartburn, consider calling us to make an appointment—we’ll do our best to care for your specific condition and find a solution to your ailment.
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease (LPRD)
Also known as “silent reflux” because of how difficult it can be to diagnose, laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD) is similar to another acid reflux condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but differs symptomatically. In this case, the ring of muscles that line the esophagus and normally keep the contents of the stomach where they belong don’t work correctly, resulting in acid backed up into the throat. This can cause inflammation in areas that are not protected.
Silent reflux is common in infants, but it is unknown how many adults are afflicted by it. If you experience heartburn or a bitter taste/burning sensation in the back of the throat, try looking out for the following symptoms, which are also common:
- Excessive throat clearing
- Excessive coughing
- The sensation of a lump in the throat that doesn’t go away with swallowing
- Excess throat mucus
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Consistent sore throat
Long-term problems include potential scarring of the throat and voice box, and may further complicate conditions like asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. If you’ve been experiencing a combination of these symptoms, please see one of our Ear Nose & Throat specialists for a physical exam and testing, and let us help treat your unique condition.