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...

Lesser-Known Benefits of Hearing Aids

It might seem obvious that better hearing is the key benefit of hearing aids. However, it’s not the only way the quality of your life improves. There are other, lesser-known benefits offered by custom-fitted hearing aids.

Tips for Surviving Laryngitis

Losing your voice can be more than an inconvenience, particularly if your job or daily life depend on it. Getting past laryngitis will happen, though you do need a period of rest and voice care. Here are some tips for surviving laryngitis.

Why Does My Child Keep Getting Ear Infections?

It might feel like your child moves from one minor illness to the next in a never-ending cycle. Ear infections are a commonly recurring ailment for some children. There are good reasons why this happens, but your child will eventually outgrow them.

What to Do About Voice Loss After 60

Unlike other aspects of aging, voice changes aren’t inevitable as you get older. However, your voice can get tired faster, or you may experience frequent hoarseness. You can take steps to minimize the amount of voice loss you experience after 60.

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.