How to Get Rid of Acid Reflux in Throat

how to get rid of acid reflux in throat

Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents irritate the throat and esophagus (the swallowing passage). The most common symptom is heartburn, but it can also cause a sore throat. Long-term acid reflux may damage the lining of the esophagus and lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which can be a risk factor for cancer.

1. Eat smaller meals.

When you eat a large meal, your stomach fills up and puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter that holds stomach acid in. If you lay down right afterward, the acid can rise into your throat and cause a sour taste in your mouth, heartburn and post-nasal drip.

Stick to smaller meals throughout the day and try not to eat at least three hours before going to bed. This will give your stomach time to empty before you go to sleep.

Try low-acid fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe, a comforting bowl of oatmeal, fennel seeds (which have a licorice flavor) or low-sugar dried ginger tea to soothe heartburn. Drink plain or fruit-infused water, herbal teas without caffeine or decaf coffee. Avoid dairy, fatty meats and carbonated drinks.

2. Drink lots of water.

A burning sensation in the throat, sour or bitter taste in the throat, gassy bloating in the stomach — these are symptoms of acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). While over-the-counter medications can help relieve the pain and discomfort, making certain dietary changes can make a big difference.

Water, especially ice cold water, dilutes acids in the stomach and can offer relief from heartburn when consumed after a meal. Low-acid fruits like melons and watermelon, oatmeal, fennel seeds and a cup of brewed herbal tea all have soothing effects on the stomach and can offer relief from acid reflux. Avoid caffeinated beverages, carbonated drinks and fried foods as they can trigger acid reflux. If you have recurring acid reflux two or more times per week, see a gastroenterologist to be evaluated for GERD and discuss treatment options.

3. Avoid spicy foods.

Sixty percent of adults have experienced acid reflux, that uncomfortable feeling when stomach contents irritate the esophagus. This can lead to heartburn, regurgitation and throat irritation. When this occurs regularly, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Foroutan says certain foods can trigger acid reflux symptoms in some people, including spicy foods, chocolate and fatty meats. But he says there are plenty of natural remedies to help ease those symptoms.

For example, a piece of toast can act like a sponge, soaking up stomach acid and offering relief. Other healthy starches, such as brown rice, can also provide relief. And a cup of soothing tea can soothe throat soreness caused by reflux. But avoid drinking sugary sodas and carbonated water, as they can actually make the problem worse.

4. Try to sleep on your side.

At the bottom of your stomach is a circular ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle opens to let food enter the stomach and closes to prevent acid from washing back up into your throat. Normally, reflux only occurs after meals and is brief.

But at night, without the benefit of gravity to keep stomach contents in the stomach, the LES is less effective and acid can leak into your esophagus and throat. And when this acid reaches your throat, it can irritate the lining of your pharynx and larynx, which have even less protection than your esophagus.

To avoid nighttime heartburn, try sleeping on your left side with a slope of pillows that raises your head and upper body 6 to 8 inches. Also, try stacking pillows not just under your head but also along your shoulders and back.

5. Avoid smoking.

A ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes after you swallow to keep food from moving back into your throat. Normally the LES relaxes briefly during sleep, but doesn’t allow acid to escape into the throat, which is why reflux only happens occasionally for most people.

Cigarette smoke reduces saliva production, which has a direct effect on your LES’s chemical balance. It also decreases the acid-neutralizing ability of saliva, which makes your stomach acid more likely to travel up your throat and cause heartburn.

Over-the-counter antacids might relieve symptoms, but they don’t address the underlying cause. Your doctor might recommend losing weight or prescribing H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors, which reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. In some cases, surgery might be an option if OTC medications don’t work.


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