Wondering what’s causing frequent sore throat? Acid reflux could be one of the causes. Acid reflux happens when your stomach acid travels back upwards into your esophagus, causing irritation to its lining. This can cause a dry cough, sore throat, irritated larynx (voice box) and sometimes, wheezing. Heartburn, bitter taste in the mouth, regurgitation, indigestion, and difficulty swallowing are other symptoms when you experience acid reflux.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) aka ‘the silent reflux’ is the condition when acid reflux causes sore throat by irritating the voice box in your throat. Acid reflux does not always cause heartburn but can affect your throat and vocal cords. LPR can affect infants as well as adults. It is completely treatable.

Why does one get LPR?

Anybody might be prone to the condition, however, it occurs more frequently as one age. Other reasons include:

  • Certain dietary habits
  • Consistently wearing tight clothes
  • Being overweight/obese
  • Being overstressed

What causes LPR?

The stomach acid that bubbles up into your throat causes LPR. When you eat, the food passes down your throat and enters the stomach via the esophagus. The esophageal sphincter muscle controls the opening between the stomach and the esophagus. The muscle remains tightly closed except for times when food is swallowed. When the sphincter muscles fail to close, the acid-contents of your stomach travel back towards the esophagus in a backward movement called ‘reflux’.

Here are a few symptoms of LPR you shouldn’t ignore:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Your voice getting hoarse
  3. Feeling a frequent urge to clear the throat
  4. A constant sensation of mucus sticking in the throat
  5. Post-nasal drips
  6. Difficulty swallowing
  7. Swelling or irritation of the voice box (larynx)
  8. Chronic cough

When LPR affects infants, they experience symptoms including sore throat, coughing, vomiting, asthma, being unable to gain weight, noisy breathing, ear infections, turning blue, feeding difficulties, and inhaling food particles into the lungs.

The difference between silent reflux and GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is that the former causes no heartburn or indigestion.

Most individuals with LPR manage to control symptoms by modifying their diet and lifestyle. Medications like antihistamines, H2-blockers and other over the counter drugs can also help. And if antacids do not work, doctors might prescribe a proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole to reduce stomach acid.

Sore throat nastya_gepp, Pixabay