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Does GERD Cause Sore Throat?

written by: Stephanie M. Lucas • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 6/11/2010

Plagued with a persistent sore throat? Do you also suffer from acid reflux? You may be experiencing a GERD sore throat. Learn what it is and how to get rid of it.

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    GERD, Sore Throat Connection

    GERD sore throat is painful Sore throat got you down? GERD may be the culprit. Stomach acid that is refluxed because of GERD can cause damage to the esophagus. Repeated injury may cause painful symptoms, sometimes with serious complications. GERD and acid reflux result in inflammation of the esophagus, which may cause a sore throat. A GERD sore throat needs prompt attention because it can be signs of damage to the tissue lining the esophagus.

    A relatively common digestive disease, GERD wreaks havoc on the lives of many people. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, affects people of all ages and nationalities. The chronic digestive disease causes stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. GERD can be experienced as acid reflux, heartburn and/or discomfort in the chest. Left untreated, GERD can cause serious health problems.

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    Cause of GERD Sore Throat

    Stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus can cause irritation to the esophagus and the throat. The throat irritation from acid reflux is what causes a persistent sore throat in GERD sufferers. To diagnose a GERD sore throat, other causes of a sore throat must be ruled out. If the sore throat cannot be attributed to a bacterial or viral infection, allergies or dryness, GERD may be the cause of the sore throat. People who suffer a sore throat caused by GERD often suffer long-lasting symptoms. A sore throat that goes away in a few days was not likely to be caused by GERD.

    Most negative complications of GERD can be avoided by obtaining proper treatment for symptoms. Both prescription and OTC treatments are available for GERD and acid reflux symptoms.

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    OTC Treatments for GERD Sore Throat

    To treat a GERD sore throat the underlying cause of the sore throat must be addressed first. Simply soothing the sore throat won't prevent acid reflux, which will cause recurrence of symptoms. GERD symptoms must be treated along with the sore throat.

    OTC medications for GERD may be helpful in preventing acid reflux. There are three types of OTC medications available for GERD: antacids, proton pump inhibitors (or PPI's) and H-2 receptor blockers. Antacids and H-2 receptor blockers can be used to neutralize stomach acids for instant relief of infrequent acid reflux. A GERD sore throat, however, is indicative of frequent reflux, which would require a medication to help heal the damage to the esophagus. PPI's are the best medications to heal the damaged tissues of the esophagus. PPI's, such as Prilosec and Prevacid, are available over-the-counter and in prescription strength. Consult your physician for the best OTC treatment regimen for your GERD.

    In addition to treating GERD symptoms, OTC treatments for a sore throat should be used. Throat lozenges, sprays and gargle solutions can be purchased at a local pharmacy to soothe irritation of the throat. Drink plenty of fluids and try sucking on hard candies to increase saliva production.

    If OTC treatments for GERD and GERD sore throat do not alleviate symptoms (or if symptoms are persistent) a physician should be consulted.

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    Sources Cited

    "GERD." Mayo Clinic

    "Heartburn/GERD Guide." WebMD

    "Sore Throat: Causes." Mayo Clinic

    "A Pharmacist's Guide to OTC Treatment: Sore Throat." Pharmacy Times

    Jessica Mulvihill, "5 Acid Reflux Medications: Which One is Best for You?" FoxNews

    Photo Credit: Flickr, Creative Commons License, © amanky