Gastroesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid backs up (refluxes) into the esophagus. The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD signs and symptoms. GERD is a common cause of throat complaints.


You may have reflux if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • frequent need to clear your throat
  • feeling like you're choking
  • chronic cough
  • hoarseness
  • trouble swallowing
  • sensation of having “a lump in the throat”
  • sour or acid taste
  • recurrent sore throat


Treatment includes diet and lifestyle changes.

  • Avoid fatty foods and spicy foods.
  • Eat fewer acidic foods, such as citrus and tomato-based foods.
  • Limit drinking alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, and chocolate.
  • Eat no later than 3 or 4 hours before you lie down.
  • Lower your weight if you are overweight
  • Manage stress
  • Avoid tight belts or tight-fitting clothing
  • Elevate your bed so the head is six to eight inches higher than the foot.
  • Limit aspirin and ibuprofen use. They may increase stomach irriation.
  • Medications: In some cases, a medication may be suggested by your doctor. Examples of these medications include, but are not limited to: Pepcid, Prevacid, Prilosec, Zantac, Nexium, Protonix, Aciphex.
  • A consultation with a gastroenterologist may be necessary if symptoms persist.

In Pregnancy: Acid reflux is fairly common in pregnant women. Watching your diet and elevating your head and upper body while sleeping should help. Consult with your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy.