Let’s look at the anatomy involved in digesting our food to find the answer. Here’s how the half-digested meal, with tummy acids mixed in, gets back up into the throat to cause problems. There is a muscle that serves to separate the tummy from the throat and it should close, once the food passes by, so that food cannot back up. Sometimes the muscle (called the lower oesophagal sphincter) weakens and does not perform its job. This is exactly what happens during acid reflux attacks.
The acid which should be helping break down and digest the food, instead causes the throat to swell inside and feel sore. A sore throat is a very good indicator of acid reflux and the most prominent sign that there is a problem. That little circle of muscle in the lower throat is pretty important, isn’t it?
Beyond the sore throat, you may also suffer from excess saliva and feel the need to spit often. You may even progress to have trouble taking a breath because of the swelling inside the throat. In extreme cases, pus may form on the tonsils and drooling may result.
There is a lot you can do right at home to feel better. It is best to gargle and wash out the back of your mouth and throat with saltwater. Keep drinking as much water as possible since this is good for your health at any time. Drink cold liquids (but avoid fruit juice which could be irritating) and have a popsicle. Avoid drinking soda pop as well or anything with caffeine. Make sure to sleep as much as you can and use a humidifier if it helps. Hard candy is also great since it produces saliva which counteracts the stomach acid that is burning your throat. The bicarbonates in your saliva neutralize the acid very effectively.
If you don’t feel better, you can look into seeing your doctor for a prescription. He or she may very well recommend antibiotic treatment if you have a lot of pain, if you are sweating or dehydrated or if you have trouble getting your breath. These may be signs of a viral infection. Rheumatic fever is very rare but will also be prevented with medication. Anti-inflammatory medicine like a corticosteroid will ease the swelling of the throat if necessary.
To keep acid reflux out of your life, try to stay up after eating for at least a couple of hours in order to keep your food where it belongs. Don’t give it the chance to back upon you by lying down to sleep or nap immediately after eating.
Don’t forget that your diet has a lot to do with whether you will suffer from acid reflux. Try to eat smaller meals throughout the day, and especially at dinner time. A smaller meal allows the tummy to empty out quicker and thus produce less acid, for a shorter time. Of course, eat dinner early so that you do not lie down to sleep within 2 or 3 hours of the meal. Learn about the Acid reflux diet and how to treat acid reflux naturally.
Over-the-counter medicine can help with acid reflux as well. Many medications will counteract the acid and others (anti-histamines) stop too much acid from being made in your body. It’s important to listen to your body and help it to help you stay healthy.