Could Your Acid Reflux Be Causing Throat Problems?

Some people with acid reflux can experience symptoms in the mouth and throat, such as the feeling of thick phlegm or mucous in the throat.

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

Many think of acid reflux as a condition that causes discomfort only in the stomach and chest area. However, some with acid reflux can experience symptoms in the mouth and throat, such as the feeling of thick phlegm or mucous in the throat or bad breath. When stomach acid travels from the stomach up to the throat, it is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). Other symptoms of LPR could include hoarseness, the sensation of a lump in the throat, post-nasal drip, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and a chronic cough.

According to the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, it is not completely clear which liquids that can be refluxed back up into the throat may be to blame for the symptoms of LPR. Acids, pepsin and pancreatic enzymes may all be refluxed back up into the throat after an acid reflux episode. Even small amounts of any of these liquids can cause problems.

It is important that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you see a doctor to determine if acid reflux is the cause. The symptoms of LPR can also be caused by reasons other than acid reflux such as allergies, smoking, or excess alcohol consumption, just to name a few. If you suspect that acid reflux may be causing some of your symptoms related to LRP, an evaluation with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor may be best. Even though gastroenterologists are often referred for acid reflux disorders, an ENT doctor may be more familiar with the acid reflux symptoms related to LPR.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Tracyshealthyliving.com. Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.