Chronic Sore Throat? It could be acid reflux
If you suffer from chronic reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) you may be familiar with the sore throats and hoarseness that can often accompany the condition. That’s what’s known as reflux laryngitis, and it occurs when the voice box, or larynx, becomes irritated by stomach acid that refluxes, or flows backward, into the esophagus and throat.
Since reflux symptoms often occur at night when your body is in a horizontal position (and it’s easier for stomach acid to move backward), many people with chronic GERD find themselves sounding hoarse in the morning. While the symptoms can resolve as the day wears on, left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious problems, such as painful vocal cord spasms or growths on the vocal cords.
Symptoms can include:
- Postnasal drip
- A sensation of excess mucus in the throat
- A persistent need to clear the throat
- Persistent dry cough
What’s more, symptoms of reflux laryngitis can occur without heartburn, one of the symptoms most people associate with GERD. In fact, about half the people who have reflux laryngitis never experience heartburn and fail to make the link between their symptoms and acid reflux.
While lifestyle changes such as avoiding meals and snacks a few hours before bed may cause some improvement in symptoms, for most people, once reflux laryngitis symptoms are present, you need medication to properly treat the condition.
For most people, seeing a doctor who specializes in GERD and other acid reflux problems is the best way to manage reflux laryngitis symptoms and avoid damage to the esophagus. At the Georgia Reflux Center, we offer the most advanced treatments for patients with chronic GERD, including GERD surgery options for more complex cases, so patients can alleviate symptoms and avoid more severe damage to the esophagus, such as the development of a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which has been linked with esophageal cancer.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of reflux laryngitis, with or without heartburn, you need to be evaluated right away to avoid serious damage.