You might be more familiar with acid reflux as heartburn — a name that describes the pain acid reflux causes perfectly. If your acid reflux is damaging your throat, Ramie A. Tritt, MD, of Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates, P.C. can help. He's a board-certified otolaryngologist who has considerable expertise in treating acid reflux and related conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett's esophagus. Call one of his two offices in Atlanta, Georgia, today, or schedule a consultation using the online booking form.
Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux, is a term that describes a condition where stomach acid backs up your esophagus, causing pain and discomfort.
At the top of your stomach, there's a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that stops the contents of your stomach from rising up your esophagus. When the LES doesn't function properly, the strong acid in your stomach can escape.
Most people experience a degree of acid reflux occasionally, especially after a rich or heavy meal. Attacks now and then aren't too much of a worry, but frequent acid reflux can become a chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD can, in turn, develop into a condition called Barrett's esophagus, where cells that should be lining your intestine start growing in your esophagus. This condition could mutate into esophageal cancer.
The main symptoms of acid reflux include:
Another form of acid reflux is laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR. With this condition, your stomach contents reflux up your esophagus all the way into the back of your throat or even up your nasal airway.
The effects of acid reflux, GERD, and LPR affect the throat in particular, which is an area of expertise for an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor. Acid reflux and related conditions cause additional problems like:
Resolving the acid reflux problem can reduce your risk of developing these complications. Early-stage acid reflux often responds well to medications that neutralize the acid in your stomach or stop it from producing so much acid in the first place.
Acid reflux tends to develop in people who are overweight or obese and have poor eating habits. Rich, fatty, spicy foods, overeating, and eating late at night are all common causes of problems in the LES that lead to acid reflux. Making lifestyle changes, therefore, is key to managing acid reflux.
To find out more and get relief from painful acid reflux, call Atlanta ENT, Sinus & Allergy Associates, P.C. today or book an appointment online.