Acid Reflux and Singing: A Pain in the Voice
When you’re a singer your voice is your instrument and any disruption in your throat or chest can cause problems. Though stage fright may be the number one enemy of many singers in Atlanta, Macon, and Albany, acid reflux can be a close second.
Any issue that affects performance is especially troublesome to those who sing professionally, but can also be difficult for those who make singing a hobby. When digestive issues like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) prompt recurrent acid reflux, the backwash of stomach acid can damage the vocal cords, leading to an unreliable singing voice and erratic vocal range.
Acid reflux can cause many problems for singers, including:
- Reduced range
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Poor vocal quality in the morning
- Need for longer warm-up times
- Need for frequent throat clearing
- Chronic coughing
- Post-nasal drip
These problems plague many acid reflux sufferers, but allowing them to persist for too long can lead to long-term damage in your ability to sing. This is what makes it so important to seek treatment for GERD before acid reflux progresses too far. The most prudent choice for singers is to consult a GERD specialist like Dr. Bagnato, who can help you find safe and reliable options to treat this delicate problem.
However, there are many other tips that can help singers cope with acid reflux issues in their daily lives. To minimize GERD’s impact on your vocal abilities, give these tips a try:
- Don’t sing on a full stomach. We contract our stomach muscles when singing, which puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the muscular valve that prevents stomach contents from entering the esophagus, but we experience acid reflux when it malfunctions or becomes weak. Because of this, we need to be extra careful of the stress we place on the LES—when you sing after eating, the contents of your full stomach are more likely to reflux due to the pressure on your LES.
- Find your triggers. We each have specific foods and actions that worsen acid reflux. Finding yours can help you minimize your symptoms. Stay away from spicy foods, fatty foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks and anything else that causes you problems. Obesity, hiatal hernia and many lifestyle factors can contribute to GERD as well, so don’t hesitate to speak with Dr. Bagnato if you need help determining the root of your reflux problems.
Acid reflux can be a serious cause for concern among singers, but you don’t have to let it wreak havoc on your voice. Are you a singer who knows of other useful methods for coping with acid reflux in Atlanta, Albany or Macon? Share your experiences in the comments below!