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Brains Super Speciality Hospital

Dr. Oshin Thomas,

ENT Surgeon, BRAINS Super Speciality Hospital.


Acid reflux, a common digestive disorder, often goes beyond the discomfort in the stomach. Surprisingly, it can have a significant impact on your ears, nose, and throat (ENT) health. In this article, we'll explore the link between acid reflux and various ENT issues, shedding light on the importance of recognizing and managing this connection.

The Basics of Acid Reflux:

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the food pipe causing irritation and discomfort. This condition is known for causing heartburn, chest pain, and regurgitation. However, its influence extends beyond the digestive system.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR):

One of the lesser-known consequences of acid reflux is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux or LPR. This occurs when stomach acid reaches the throat and even the nasal passages, leading to a range of ENT problems.

Symptoms to Watch For:

Recognizing the symptoms of LPR is crucial for early intervention. Patients may experience chronic cough, hoarseness, throat clearing, and a feeling of a lump in the throat. These symptoms often mimic other ENT issues, making it essential to consider acid reflux as a potential cause.

Impact on the Throat and Vocal Cords:

The acidic content that reaches the throat can cause inflammation and irritation. Prolonged exposure may lead to changes in the voice, chronic throat irritation, and even the development of vocal cord nodules or polyps.

Ear Issues Related to Acid Reflux:

Believe it or not, acid reflux can also affect the ears. Eustachian tube dysfunction, a condition in which the tube connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose doesn't function properly, can be aggravated by acid reflux. This dysfunction may contribute to ear pain, pressure, and even hearing loss.

Preventive Measures and Treatment:

Managing acid reflux is not only vital for digestive health but also for preventing ENT complications.

1. Dietary Adjustments:

Avoid trigger foods like citrus, chocolate, and spicy items.

Opt for smaller, frequent meals.

2. Lifestyle Changes:

Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.

Avoid eating close to bedtime.

3. Positional Strategies:

Elevate the head of the bed by 6-8 inches while sleeping

4. Hydration Habits:

Stay hydrated with water, the best beverage choice.

5. Smoking Cessation:

Quit smoking to strengthen the lower oesophageal sphincter.

6. Stress Management:

Practice stress-reducing techniques like yoga and meditation.

7. Clothing Choices:

Avoid tight belts or waistbands.

8. Posture During and After Meals:

Remain upright after meals, avoiding lying down immediately.

9. Identify Other Health Conditions:

Address contributing factors like hiatal hernias or obesity.

10. Consult Healthcare Professional:

Regular check-ups for personalized advice and treatment.


Understanding the link between acid reflux and ENT issues empowers individuals to take proactive steps in managing their health. By recognizing the symptoms and seeking timely intervention, you can mitigate the impact of acid reflux on your ears, nose, and throat, ensuring a better quality of life. If in doubt, always consult with an ENT specialist for personalized advice and guidance.