GERD and Acid Reflux Throat Treatment
What Are Acid Reflux and GERD?
Acid reflux is most often known for the heartburn sensation it causes and most often occurs after eating or when lying down. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a more serious version of acid reflux. If you experience heartburn more than twice a week, you may suffer from GERD.
GERD occurs when the closure near your stomach becomes weak, relaxing when it needs to stay sealed. The resulting symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble swallowing
You might not think that a gastric issue could cause ENT issues, however, if you experience hoarseness, throat clearing, cough and difficult or painful swallowing, your symptoms could be caused by acid reflux or GERD. When you suffer from a sore throat from acid reflux it can cause oral ulcers or damage to your vocal cords if left untreated.
How Renew Can Help
At Renew, our ENT specialists often see patients suffering from throat issues. When we evaluate patients, we can use minimally invasive nasal scopes to diagnose acid reflux issues.
The GERD or acid reflux diagnosis can assess the impact of reflux on the throat and voice box. After your evaluation and diagnosis, we can either prescribe a GERD treatment plan or refer you to a gastroenterologist for more aggressive treatment options.
Managing Acid Reflux and GERD
Surgical procedures for GERD or acid reflux are typically reserved for acute cases. If you’re a candidate for a procedure, our doctors will refer you to a gastroenterologist.
There are many non-surgical GERD treatments for those who are suffering from chronic symptoms such as heartburn or a sore throat from acid reflux. Here are some ways to get your symptoms under control:
- Bed blocks: Elevate the head of your bed with two 6-inch blocks or bricks. Although using a foam wedge beneath the upper half of your body is an alternative, using extra pillows is not effective.
- Avoid foods that cause your symptoms: Caffeine, chocolate, carbonated beverages, alcohol, mints, onion, garlic, tomato and citrus fruit or juices, spicy and fatty foods.
- Do not lie down for 2 hours after eating: Allow gravity to work. Also, avoid bending over at the waist to pick things up; instead, bend at the knees.
- Eat smaller meals: Instead of one or two large meals during the day, consume three or four smaller meals; this minimizes overfilling of your stomach.
- Avoid tobacco use: If you are unable to stop smoking, decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke; this is the single greatest improvement in your health that you can control.
- Maintain your ideal body weight: Excess weight increases the amount of pressure on your stomach, and even a small amount of weight loss may help to alleviate this.
- Avoid tight clothing: Tight belts, tight pants, or girdles can increase the pressure on the abdomen and stomach.
- Avoid medications that cause your symptoms, if possible: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and oral steroids such as prednisone should be avoided, if possible; patients taking aspirin for protection of their heart and blood vessels should consult their primary care doctor or cardiologist before discontinuing this medication.
Your acid reflux or GERD treatment might also include medications both prescribed and over-the-counter to alleviate both your symptoms and the root problem. Here are some that may be recommended. Please consult your care team before starting your course of action as every patient is different.
- Liquid antacid has many over-the-counter choices available. Take two teaspoons one hour after each meal and just before bedtime.
- PEPCID® or Tagamet® may be prescribed by your doctor but they are also available over the counter.
- Prevacid®, Prilosec®, ACIPHEX®, PROTONIX®, or Nexium® may be prescribed by your physician.