Laryngitis and GERD

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In addition to dealing with the pain and discomfort of heartburn, people who suffer from GERD may develop laryngitis as a result of their frequent acid reflux.

Acid reflux, or stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus from the stomach, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between the esophagus and stomach, isn’t able to keep digestive juices in the stomach. This may happen because the valve itself is weakened or because there is additional pressure on the stomach, possibly due to obesity or a hiatal hernia. If the stomach acid flows all the way into the larynx, it can cause reflux laryngitis.

The most common symptoms of reflux laryngitis are heartburn and hoarseness, but you may also experience difficulty breathing or a feeling of having something stuck in your throat. If these symptoms are present, your doctor may prescribe treatment for the underlying GERD before doing additional testing.

Treatment options for GERD include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Eating smaller meals, losing weight, quitting smoking, or avoiding foods that trigger heartburn can help ease symptoms of GERD.
  • Medication: Medicinal options include over-the-counter antacids, proton pump inhibitors and H2-blockers.
  • Surgery: A fundoplication procedure can strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter.

If you experience frequent symptoms of GERD, you should contact your doctor. In addition to increasing your risk for reflux laryngitis, GERD can also increase your risk for certain types of cancer if left untreated.

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