Asthma and GERD: A Tough Combo

Jennifer Rackley Health Guide October 09, 2012
  • Asthma and GERD have often been linked.  The subsequent debate in medical circles sought to determine how each plays a role in the development of the other.  Not everyone agrees on which came first, the GERD or the asthma.  That is because some asthma medications and the frequent coughing associated with asthma can trigger GERD episodes.  On the other side of the coin, GERD can also aggravate lung tissue and cause issues with asthma.

    As with our daughter Ella, we have seen this scenario play out often.  When she has a flare up of her GERD symptoms it isn’t long before her asthma is also acting up.  When she has an illness or allergy that is aggravating her asthma she will often reflux, vomit or have more GERD symptoms as well.  


    The bottom line is that both conditions, asthma and GERD, have to be treated at the same time for the patient to see a positive result.  This may include PPI medications to treat the GERD and both preventative and rescue inhalers to get asthma symptoms under control.  Other medications may also be used as deemed necessary by each individuals’ physician.

    It is now thought that many people with uncontrolled asthma should be checked for GERD to be sure that it is not exacerbating the issue.  If you or your child have asthma that is not responding to treatment you may want to ask your doctor if GERD could be playing a role in the issue.  Proper treatment of both conditions can lead to a dramatically better quality of life.