GERD and Your Throat: Esophageal Damage, Complications, and Prevention

I always had stomach aches as a child. As a young adult, the heartburn became like an inner furnace in my chest. Then I was pregnant and so when I complained to the doctor I was told that it is a fact of life because of my situation.

Sometimes acid reflux presents without heartburn, causing what is known as silent reflux. Here’s what you need to know.

My heart goes out to those of you caring for young children and managing a GI disorder. I stopped seeing the specialists because they couldn’t find a diagnosis. I began seeing a doctor who is a regular primary care doctor, not a specialist! He sat and talked with me for about 1/2 hour.

Inside Heart Health:

Head and neck symptoms related to acid reflux can be misleading. For instance, chronic sore throat caused by acid reflux is sometimes misdiagnosed as recurrent or chronic tonsillitis. Heartburn is the most common symptom associated with acid reflux, but about 20 to 60 percent of people develop head and neck symptoms without any heartburn. Heartburn is a very common symptom created by acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid is forced back into the food pipe. Acid reflux happens when stomach acids travel back up into the food pipe, or esophagus, irritating its lining.

More about Heartburn and GERD

The diaphragm helps the LES keep acid from coming up into the esophagus. When a hiatal hernia is present, it is easier for the acid to come up. In this way, a hiatal hernia can cause reflux. A hiatal hernia can happen in people of any age; many otherwise healthy people over 50 have a small one. Hoarseness; if acid reflux gets past the upper esophageal sphincter, it can enter the throat (pharynx) and even the voice box (larynx), causing hoarseness or sore throat.

Also, this irritation can trigger allergic reactions and make the airways more sensitive to environmental conditions such as smoke or cold air. On occasion, however, the patient makes no comment until a few days after surgery. Despite the delay in onset of symptoms, this pharyngitis is still often blamed on the intubation process. However, there are other causes of inflammation that should be considered, chief among them gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach acid moves up the esophagus, it can irritate the vocal cords.

Other medications may work by strengthening the muscles that separate the food pipe from the stomach. Strengthening these muscles will help prevent acids from travelling back up into the food pipe. Scientific opinion is divided as to whether LPR is a symptom of acid reflux or whether it is a separate medical problem. In rare cases, pain or burning when you swallow can be a symptom of esophageal or throat cancer. Colds, the flu, and other infections that cause this symptom are much more common.

Still, I am very apprehensive about this high dosage every day, although after a week on this increased dosage I have experienced only slight, intermittent stomach pain but more frequent nighttime bloating and gas. I have read that this high dosage, at my age, can make one more susceptible to fractures (blocks absorption of calcium?) and I am an active skier. I wish I could get some independent advice on this. When I was 28, I was diagnosed with GERD. I had excruciating stomach pains and went to see a doctor.

I can’t count how many endoscopies, MRI’s, ultrasounds etc. that I have had; they found a good amount of damage in my esophagus. I was not surprised.

Pain results from the irritating effects of stomach acid on the inner esophagus wall, which does not have the same natural protection from acid that exists in the stomach lining. A sore throat that doesn’t go away and isn’t accompanied by typical cold symptoms (like a runny nose) may in fact be a symptom of acid reflux. “Your throat feels sore because a little bit of acid is coming up from the esophagus and irritating the throat,” says Gina Sam, MD, MPH, a gastroenterologist and the director of the Mount Sinai Gastrointestinal Motility Center in New York, NY. Unexplained hoarseness may be caused by stomach acid moving up to your larynx, or voice box, and tends to be more noticeable in the mornings when it’s had all night to travel while you were lying down.

acid reflux throat irritation

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