How Acid Reflux Affects Your Throat
Do you have to clear your throat or cough often? Are you hoarse? Do you have trouble swallowing? If you have these or other throat symptoms, you may have acid reflux. This occurs when stomach acid flows back up and irritates your throat.
Why you have throat symptoms
There are muscles (esophageal sphincters) at both ends of the tube that carries food to your stomach (the esophagus). These muscles relax to let food pass. Then they tighten to keep stomach acid down. When the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t tighten enough, acid can flow back (reflux) from your stomach into your esophagus. This may cause heartburn. In some cases the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) also doesn’t work well. Then acid can travel higher and enter your throat (pharynx). In many cases, this causes throat symptoms.
Common throat symptoms
Need to clear your throat often
Feeling like you’re choking
Long-term (chronic) cough
Feel like you have a lump in your throat
Sour or acid taste
Sore throat that keeps coming back
March 21, 2017
Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN,Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.,Lehrer, Jenifer, MD