Can acid reflux cause a sore throat?

Can acid reflux cause a sore throat?

Can acid reflux cause a sore throat?

Wondering why you have a sore throat can be frustrating, especially when you don’t know how to treat it. If you have a sore throat paired with heartburn, an unpleasant taste in your mouth or a dry cough, you may be wondering if your sore throat is caused by acid reflux.

Does acid reflux cause a sore throat? 

Acid reflux is a condition where acid from your stomach travels up your oesophagus (your digestive tract) into your throat and mouth[1]. The word reflux means ‘flowing back’ – in this case it means that your stomach acid is going in the opposite direction to where it should. If you get acid reflux repeatedly, it is known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD or GERD)[2].

While the acid remains in your stomach, your body is protected against it by a thick lining which acts as a defensive barrier. However, when it enters the oesophagus and travels up to your mouth, it can damage the tissues around it which aren’t protected like the stomach is. This is what causes the pain of heartburn – and if the acid reaches your mouth, it can also cause a sore throat. 

How to get rid of a sore throat from acid reflux

The most effective way to stop a sore throat caused by acid reflux is to prevent acid reflux in the first instance. However, this can take time, so you may also benefit from treatments that ease the symptoms of acid reflux in the meantime. Here, we’ve listed some methods you can use to try and ease a sore throat from acid reflux.

  • Eat little and often

Acid reflux can often be triggered by eating large meals in a short period of time[1]. If this is something that affects you, one thing you could try is eating smaller meals more frequently. For example, instead of eating a regular-sized breakfast, lunch and dinner, try eating a smaller-portioned breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. 

  • Elevate your head

Often, acid reflux gets worse at night or when you are lying down, as gravity makes it easier for the acid to travel up your oesophagus[2]. You may be able to combat this by adding an extra pillow to your bed, but this might give you a stiff neck in the morning from the unnatural position. A better remedy would be to place something under the ‘head’ end of your bed so your whole mattress is raised.

For the same reason, it’s also best not to lie down or bend over soon after eating, as this can also trigger acid reflux. Where possible, give yourself a couple of hours after eating to let your food go down – don’t do heavy exercise or go to sleep during this time. 

  • Identify your triggers

Many people who suffer from acid reflux find that their symptoms come on after eating particular foods. Sometimes this can be spicy foods, fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, tomatoes, or it could be something else entirely[2]. Experimenting with your diet can help you to spot any foods or drinks that cause a flare up of acid reflux, so you can avoid or limit them in future. 

  • Use a numbing agent

If you need short term relief from the sore throat your acid reflux has caused, why not try a numbing agent? Ultra Chloraseptic’s soothing honey and lemon throat spray contains a numbing agent that eases pain in a small, specific area – so you won’t have to worry about your whole mouth going numb. Using a topical numbing agent such as a throat spray can help you to manage the pain and get on with your day.

  • Try a soothing lemon drink

Alternatively, you may find a lemon drink helps to ease the pain[3]. Drinking a hot lemon and honey mixture or a cool lemon water drink can lubricate your throat, soothing any pain caused by friction on the damaged tissue. Lemon is also good for sore throats as it helps to boost your immune system. Be careful, though – if lemon is one of the foods that triggers your acid reflux, it may do more harm than good.