You've probably heard of acid reflux and its classic symptom, heartburn. But did you know that acid reflux can cause problems not just in your stomach, but in your throat, too?
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid goes the wrong way — that is, backward up into the esophagus and throat. There are six things you should be aware of when it comes to this malady.
1. Acid reflux doesn't play favorites.
Sixty million Americans have acid reflux. What was once thought of as a disease of overweight, middle-aged, white men now cuts across all body types, generations, races and genders.
2. It’s not just heartburn.
There are two types of acid reflux disease: “Heartburn Reflux” where the main complaint is heartburn or that burning, searing sensation in your chest and “Throatburn Reflux” where the main complaints are “ccchuching” symptoms (that guttural throat sound most people know, but try spelling it), such as chronic cough, frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, sore throat, and/or a lump-like sensation in your throat. With Throatburn Reflux, you have acid reflux without having that heartburn feeling.
3. Heartburn actually IS a big deal.
Untreated, or insufficiently treated, acid reflux disease can lead to severe inflammation in the esophagus, stomach, lungs, vocal cords and throat which can cause ulcers, pneumonia, vocal cord polyps and breathing problems.
In some cases, untreated acid reflux can even progress to esophageal cancer, which is the fastest-growing cancer in America.
4. Certain foods lead to acid reflux.
There are 12 commonly consumed “foods” that cause acid reflux, either indirectly by having effects on the stomach, or directly because they are so darn acidic.
The half dozen that aren't very acidic but allow acid to fly up from the stomach are: