You wake up with a sore throat. Now the guessing game begins. Is it a cold or allergies? Is it COVID-19 or the flu? Or is it something else altogether?
That’s where the team at SmartClinic Urgent Care comes in. At both of our offices — conveniently located in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California — our experts can help you find out what’s going on with your sore throat.
In some cases, it might be something you didn’t expect, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a long way of saying chronic acid reflux or heartburn.
Most people experience acid reflux at some point in their life. This happens when the acid in your stomach flows back up into your esophagus. That acid is irritating, and it causes the uncomfortable burning associated with heartburn. If you only experience heartburn once in a while, though, it’s probably not bothering you too much.
If you regularly experience that sensation, especially when reclining after eating, you most likely have GERD. Beyond that mid-chest burning sensation, it can also cause a sore throat. That irritating acid bothers your esophagus, including your throat issue.
GERD can also cause:
- Difficulty swallowing
- The sensation that something is stuck in your throat
- A sour taste in your mouth
- Chest pain
- Laryngitis (vocal cord inflammation)
Does that sound familiar? If so, it’s a sign that the seal between your stomach and your esophagus isn’t working as well as it should, leaving you with chronic acid reflux. Fortunately, GERD is treatable.
Getting relief from GERD and your sore throat
Lifestyle changes can go a long way to stop that acid from entering your esophagus and soothe your sore throat.
First, avoid lying down for at least an hour after you eat. If you do get into bed or lie on the couch, add some extra pillows behind your back to keep yourself at least slightly propped up. Also, try to avoid large meals close to bedtime.
The food you eat can also make a difference. Steer clear of foods that increase your stomach acid — like fried and processed foods, tomato-based sauces, citrus, and cheese — and instead opt for foods that help prevent acid reflux. These include whole grains, root vegetables, and green vegetables.
If GERD is still causing a sore throat, you may want to consider more involved lifestyle changes, like losing weight and quitting smoking.
At the same time, our SmartClinic Urgent Care team can explore medications and other treatments to alleviate your symptoms. With targeted care, we can help reduce excess stomach acid and support a strong seal between your stomach and your esophagus.
If you’re getting a sore throat frequently, don’t rule out GERD. To find out what’s causing your throat pain, call the SmartClinic Urgent Care location nearest you, save your spot with online check-in, or simply walk in to either of our offices.