Acid reflux is something everyone deals with at one time or another, it seems. Spicy food, rich food or just eating too much food at once can cause that familiar feeling of burning and discomfort in your chest.
For some people, though, the pain of acid reflux is more than an occasional misfortune brought on by food or a late night out with friends. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more chronic and continual problem. Sadly, some people don't even realize that they suffer from this condition because the symptoms can be misdiagnosed as stemming from other sources.
One common symptom of chronic acid reflux is hoarseness in the throat. This repetitive sore throat can be mistakenly diagnosed as stemming from a viral infection, but for people with GERD it's the result of inflammation in the esophagus due to exposure to stomach acid.
How to lessen the pain of acid reflux? Here are a few tips to consider:
- Avoid eating close to bedtime, as lying down makes it easier for stomach acid to travel into the esophagus while you're digesting. Have your last meal or snack at least three hours prior to going to bed.
- Limit caffeine, citrus juice, alcohol and other acidic substances which not only further inflame the esophagus but also cause the release of even more acid in the stomach.
- Smoking also causes increased stomach acid - yet another reason to quit if you have reflux issues!
If you continually suffer from sore throats or you find yourself always needing to clear your throat (another sign - the body is producing extra mucus to coat the esophagus), but you experience no other cold or flu symptoms and your doctor has confirmed it's not a bacterial infection (such as strep for instance), you may want to pursue a specialist's care. If left unchecked the repeated presence of stomach acid in the esophagus can cause serious damage.