A sore throat and difficulty swallowing are two of the many uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux. An irritated throat occurs when digestive acids travel back up the esophagus, past the upper esophageal sphincter (UES), and into the larynx and throat. The acid causes the sensitive tissue at the back of the throat to become inflamed, resulting in a sore throat. Acid reflux that frequently aggravates the throat is usually referred to as laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR.
Although taking common over-the-counter or prescribed H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors can help alleviate your sore throat by combating and preventing acid reflux, did you know that there are many natural remedies you can try first to help relieve your irritated throat? Remedies such as:
Drink plenty of fluids – Drink plenty of hydrating fluid, especially water, to keep your body hydrated and the back of your throat moist. This will provide comfort to the irritated tissue. Another excellent drink that helps relieve throat irritation is herbal tea. Herbal teas that contain anise and lavender soothe painful swallowing, aid in digestion, and help to reduce stomach acid, alleviating acid reflux.
In addition to herbal tea and water, drinking warm water with a teaspoon of honey is also a soothing and safe remedy.
The key is to drink fluids regularly throughout the day. Try always having a glass or bottle of water to hand to encourage you to stay hydrated.
Gargle with warm salt water – Gargling a mixture of warm water and salt can help reduce the swelling that comes with a sore throat. The swelling of an irritated throat is the result of a higher water concentration in the cells that line the throat. Warm salt water helps to draw out some of the extra water, which decreases swelling. Here is what you need to know about gargling with warm salt water:
1. Only gargle with a light mixture that consists of ½ teaspoon of table salt per 1 cup of warm water. Too much salt will only further harm the stressed mucus glands of your throat.
2. Mix salt and water well.
3. Gargle for thirty seconds several times a day. Gargling only once or twice will not have a significant effect on your sore throat.
Humidifier or cool mist vaporizer – The dryness in the air can aggravate an already irritated throat making it feel very dry, scratchy, and raw. Humidifiers and cool-mist vaporizers are machines designed to add moisture to the air. Air with moisture will reduce throat irritation. Keep in mind that these devices should be placed in an area where you will be spending the most time.
Hard candy – non-medicated throat lozenges or mild tasting hard candy (I.E. butterscotch and fruit flavors – avoid chocolate or peppermint candies as they tend to aggravate acid reflux) can provide relief of both sore throats and acid reflux. Hard candy helps to eliminate dryness, the burning feeling in the throat, and gives the throat extra moisture. This is because hard candy increases the production of saliva, and saliva contains bicarbonates that work to neutralize acids that may remain in the throat.
Active manuka honey – Active manuka honey can provide relief from sore throats, alleviate acid reflux, and even prevent it. However, in the case of painful swallowing here is how you can use active manuka honey as a natural remedy:
1. Take 1 teaspoon of honey
2. Do not swallow immediately. Let the honey melt in your mouth and then swallow to allow the mouth and throat to be better coated.
3. Do not eat or drink for 15 minutes after swallowing to keep the manuka honey concentrated
4. If you have a persistent sore throat this remedy can be repeated every few hours, up to 4 times per day. Note: if you are a diabetic you need to watch your sugar intake, and will need to alter this remedy accordingly.
Sleep – Rest always helps the body heal. Remember to keep your head propped up with pillows or raise the head of your bed to prevent acid from traveling up your esophagus to your throat during sleep.
Control eating habits – Not only do you need to avoid foods and beverages that can cause acid reflux, you also need to ensure you are eating properly. This means eating small quantities slowly, and in an upright position. You should also limit activities after eating, and avoid lying down for at least 2 hours to encourage proper digestion.
Finally, although natural remedies can be very beneficial for treating your symptoms, it is imperative that you carefully monitor your irritated throat and make sure that the sore throat and difficulty swallowing you are experiencing is a symptom of acid reflux and not something else like strep throat or tonsillitis. If your sore throat worsens, has not improved in five days, you notice a coating of pus on the surface of your tonsils, or have difficulty breathing you should immediately see your doctor.
Acid Reflux Treatment
If you are suffering from acid reflux, GERD or heartburn most doctors will recommend some form of prescription medication to combat the symptoms you are experiencing. The problem with this approach is apart from being expensive, most medications prescribed for acid reflux, heartburn and GERD are not designed for long term use and tend to mask the problem rather than addressing it.
For reliable acid reflux, heartburn and GERD treatment information that focuses on preventing and controlling symptoms naturally, read Stop Acid Reflux Now; an easy to follow, comprehensively researched downloadable book by Kathryn Whittaker.
Stop Acid Reflux Now shows you how to easily take control of your acid reflux, heartburn and GERD symptoms through the use of effective natural methods that avoid the need for expensive medications. Read how some really simple lifestyle changes can have a huge positive effect on your health, enhancing the quality of your life.