Can Acid Reflux Cause Sore Throat? Details You Didn’t Know

can acid reflux cause sore throat

Your sore throat and raspy voice don’t seem to be getting better? You don’t have the flu and you’re not feeling otherwise sick, so why is your throat still making you uncomfortable? You might not be seeing the one unlikely culprit behind your irritated and inflamed throat — acid reflux.

And if you’re confused and wondering, can acid reflux cause sore throat, the answer is a surprising yes. Read on to learn how the two are connected.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, is a relatively common condition where one experiences a burning pain in the lower chest area.

Acid reflux occurs when your stomach contents and digestive juices travel back up to your food pipe. This may typically happen after a rather large meal. So you would experience acid reflux at one time or another. It is quite normal and should not cause you any worry.

However, if it happens frequently, say two to three times (or even more) per week, then it may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is when you should fix an appointment with your doctor.

You should know, acid reflux can be a symptom of a more severe health condition, so it should not be taken lightly.

Can Acid Reflux Cause Sore Throat?

Sore Throat

Yes, acid reflux can irritate your throat and lead to a sore throat.

Our stomach contains digestive juices that are highly acidic. When you experience acid reflux, these acidic stomach juices travel back to your esophagus and can irritate your esophagus lining.

And as a result, you may feel a burning sensation in the throat, some itchiness and hoarseness, and even sore throat or pharyngitis.

Sore throat is a tell-tale sign of many health concerns. So, while you may assume that it’s just the flu, you should also not disregard the fact that you are likely to experience sore throat frequently if you have acid reflux or GERD.

If you have never been diagnosed with acid reflux or GERD but are experiencing a sore throat, it would be advisable to monitor yourself closely and get yourself checked out by a doctor.

Other Possible Causes of Sore Throat

Apart from acid reflux, a sore throat can be the result of various factors.

A viral infection like the flu or cold is the most common culprit. Know that if a virus causes pharyngitis, it will eventually get resolved on its own.

The only time your doctor would prescribe you antibiotics will be if your sore throat is caused by bacteria. This is referred to as strep throat or streptococcal infection.

Some other factors of sore throat are smoking, pollution, and being allergic to pollens, pets, and molds. If you’re in the habit of mouth-breathing while asleep at night, you will likely have a sore throat in the morning.

How To Know If Your Sore Throat Is from Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is not something to take lightly. If you’ve been experiencing acid reflux regularly, the constant and unnecessary upward travel of your stomach’s acids can severely damage your respiratory system, teeth, throat, and voice box.

If you’re unsure whether your sore throat is the result of acid reflux, here are some other signs to watch out for:

#1. Hoarse Voice

If your voice starts sounding harsher after a meal, it may be a sign of acid reflux. As the stomach acid travels up, it continuously touches your larynx or voice box. This will cause your voice to sound harsh.

#2. Throat Issues

Need to clear your throat constantly? Do you feel like there is a lump in the back of your throat that will not go away despite constantly swallowing and drinking water? You may also experience other throat uneasiness like persistent coughs and hiccups.

#3. Difficulty Swallowing

Medically termed dysphagia, it occurs when scar tissues develop in your esophageal lining due to constant irritation from acid reflux.

#4. Chest Pain

Also known as heartburn, this is a common sign of acid reflux. You may feel tightness or a burning sensation in your chest.

#5. Bad Breath

Acid reflux can lead to your breath having a foul odor due to the stomach acids as well as excessive saliva accumulating in your mouth.

What Helps a Sore Throat from Acid Reflux?

Helps a Sore Throat

When you are experiencing acid reflux occasionally, using simple treatments for sore throat can help alleviate your symptoms.

Here are some sore throat treatments that can make you more comfortable:

#1. Gargle with warm water mixed with a pinch of salt to ease the inflammation.

#2. Drink a warm beverage, preferably chamomile or peppermint tea.

#3. Infuse your warm beverage with honey.

#4. Gargle with salt water mixed with baking soda.

#5. Gargle with 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in a cup of water.

#6. Ingest fenugreek, either seeds or tea.

#7. Suck on lozenges.

While these solutions may help, they are all temporary as the root cause is acid reflux. For permanent relief, it is best to address the underlying reason you are experiencing acid reflux. Here are some tips you should consider trying:

#1. Adapt small, frequent meals.

#2. Avoid overly fatty, acidic, and spicy foods.

#3. Reduce the amount of your daily caffeinated drinks.

#4. Avoid/minimize drinking carbonated sodas.

#5. Avoid lying down right after eating.

How Long Does It Take for A Sore Throat From Acid Reflux To Heal?

There is no specific timeline for treating a sore throat caused by acid reflux. It depends on how soon the root cause of the problem is addressed.

It may entail taking antacids to neutralize the stomach acid, offering quick relief, or a more extended process requiring a complete lifestyle change.

However, with proper medication and rest, in about 1 to 3 weeks, your acid reflux should be treated. Once this underlying problem is addressed, in a matter of days, your sore throat will be better too.

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