Sore Throat and Acid Reflux: The Painful Connection

Acid reflux is also known as Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) or silent reflux. Despite its name, silent reflux is anything but silent. It refers to the condition that causes irritation and pain in the throat leading to sore throat. In addition, the condition lacks heartburn, but causes a wide range of symptoms and damage to the respiratory system, throat, teeth, and voice box.

Acid reflux may cause acid to come up onto the larynx or voice box causing hoarseness. This symptom often exhibits itself in the morning because acid reflux is likely to occur when you are lying down.

Some of the atypical symptoms of acid reflux include throat problems. This condition may lead to a feeling of constant sore throat and the need to always clear the throat. Some people may feel as if they have a lump at the back of their throats that will not go away. Other symptoms of LPR include nagging cough, difficulty swallowing, and frequent hiccups.

People with LPR experience respiratory problems including wheezing and difficulty breathing caused by irritation of the airway. This condition can worsen the symptoms of asthmatic patients and make it more difficult for them to treat their asthma.

Acid reflux can cause teeth to corrode or decay as the teeth’s protective enamel is slowly eaten away. This causes teeth to become discolored or fragile.

There are several tests that can confirm LPR including barium swallow, endoscopy, and pH monitoring among others.

As the name suggests, barium swallow involves performing a series of x-ray tests on a patient’s upper gastrointestinal system after the patient has drunk a special barium solution. This solution enables doctors to effectively evaluate patient’s digestive tracts for signs of LPR.

Endoscopy is the video examination of the larynx, esophagus, and pharynx using a small camera inserted into the throat. It may also involve taking tissue samples for examination in a laboratory for signs of chronic irritation, inflammation, and abnormal cells.

PH monitoring involves the insertion of a thin tube into the patient’s nose and down the esophagus to measure acidity and pH levels in the esophagus. The test is usually conducted in a period of one to two days. High acidity levels in the esophagus are often good indicators of LPR.

Prevention and Treatment
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes including quitting smoking
and drinking of alcohol and caffeine, losing weight, and avoiding foods that may exacerbate the condition. LPR patients are advised not to take foods with excessive amounts of fat, sugar, or salt.