Reflux is a common condition that affects many patients. Reflux symptoms may include burning, chest pain or belching that can extend from the stomach to the throat and in some cases even into the back of the nose. Other patients may experience “silent reflux” which often presents with throat clearing, hoarseness, and a sensation of a “lump” in the throat. Reflux can be triggered by our dietary choices, including highly acidic foods like tomato-based meals, spicy foods, certain fruits and vegetables, and chocolate. Our selection of beverages can also cause reflux and include alcohol, coffee, soda, juice, and tea.
Patients can also experience reflux symptoms when overeating, eating before bed, drinking alcohol, using tobacco products, and even stress can worsen reflux. Dietary restrictions, lifestyle modifications, and medications when appropriate can be used to control reflux symptoms and the multitude of symptoms it can cause.
When presenting to an ENT, patterns of your symptoms and a questionnaire regarding your daily symptoms may be evaluated. A small camera (called a laryngoscope) can also be used to examine the nose and throat to evaluate for other conditions that may be present. Medical management may be initiated to control your symptoms and in other cases, a referral to a gastroenterologist may also be indicated for further evaluation through endoscopy.