Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Acid Reflux and Its Impact on Your Throat

Acid Reflux and Its Impact on Your Throat

Occasional heartburn is common, and virtually everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. For some people, however, it’s a more chronic problem, particularly when both esophageal sphincters fail, allowing stomach acids to affect your voice box. 

When acid reflux starts to affect your larynx and pharynx, or when you’re experiencing symptoms of heartburn more than twice a week, visit Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat for an examination and diagnosis of your condition. As a throat condition specialist, Dr. Scott Bateman can help you deal with the effects of acid reflux, reducing the impact on your throat. 

The anatomy of the esophagus

The path of food and drink from your mouth to stomach is meant to be a one-way journey. To that end, the tube through which food passes, called the esophagus, has two sphincters to restrict backward movement of food and other stomach contents, including the acids and enzymes used in the digestion process. 

The upper esophageal sphincter sits just below your larynx, or voice box, while the lower esophageal sphincter serves as a backflow preventer at the entry to the stomach. Both of the sphincters can fail from time to time, causing common acid reflux and heartburn issues. 

The location of damage

When you experience frequent acid reflux, the presence of stomach acids in the esophagus can become a problem. When the lower esophageal sphincter allows the backward movement of stomach contents on a frequent basis, you may be diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This results in the irritation of the lining of the esophagus, and your symptoms may be worse when you’re lying down. The upper esophageal sphincter still prevents acids from reaching your larynx and pharynx, the medical name for your throat. 

Acid reflux and your throat

When the upper sphincter fails, too, your throat and voice box are now at risk. This is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), a similar but different condition than GERD. LPR tends to occur when you’re standing, exercising, or bending over, not when you lie down. 

The voice box and throat seem to be more sensitive to stomach acids than the esophagus, and these acids tend to pool, potentially causing a stronger reaction. Without treatment, LPR can cause or contribute to: 

LPR may also contribute to cancer of the larynx in rare cases.

Lifestyle changes for LPR

In many cases, making some changes to your lifestyle can resolve LPR, and you may not need medical care. The most effective changes include: 

Dr. Bateman can prescribe stronger medications, including stomach acid reducers and proton pump inhibitors. 

You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Bateman at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat by phone or online to investigate your LPR or GERD symptoms. The sooner you seek treatment for chronic conditions, the less chance you have of developing long-term problems. Call or click today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

4 Nonsurgical Treatments for a Smoother Complexion

It’s already summer, and you’d like to refresh your complexion to go with the great weather, but you don’t have the time to recover from cosmetic surgery. Is there a way to improve your complexion? Here are four suggestions.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Lasting Earache

As a child, if you had an earache, it was virtually certain you had an ear infection. While adults have earaches too, there are many more potential causes. When the pain persists, medical attention is important.

What to Expect from Your First Telemedicine Appointment

Telemedicine appointments came to prominence as the height of the pandemic made it necessary. The security and convenience led to an enthusiastic response on the part of patients. Here’s what to expect if you haven’t used this service yet.

Adjusting to Life with Hearing Aids

Hearing loss is common, often occurring due to noise exposure compounding age-related changes. While assistive devices can restore your ability to understand the world around you, it can take a while to adjust to life with hearing aids.

Sleep Disorders that Are Common in Seniors

It’s not your imagination if it seems as though sleep is less refreshing as you get older. Common disorders that come with age include insomnia, restlessness, and frequent waking. However, your body still needs the restorative power of deep sleep.

ENT Problems that Get Worse in the Winter

As the cold weather months descend, do you find you’re stocking up on tissue boxes and decongestants? It’s that time of year, when you have an elevated risk of spending a week of downtime due to these common ear, nose, and throat conditions.