Acidic contents from the stomach can back up into the esophagus (swallowing tract) and throat in both adults and children. This is commonly referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition can happen at any moment, although it is more common when you are lying down. Acid reflux is caused by a common anatomic abnormality known as a hiatal hernia. The most well-known symptom of acid reflux is “heartburn,” which is caused by irritation of the esophageal lining.
Most individuals are unaware that acid reflux can also produce voice issues or pharyngeal symptoms (back of throat). This can occur even if the person is not conscious of any heartburn and is also known as silent reflux, atypical reflux, or laryngopharyngeal reflux.
The following information is designed to help you understand acid reflux and the measures you may take to alleviate it. However, it is critical to understand that repairing the inflamed vocal folds, throat, or esophagus will take time, and you should not anticipate quick results.
Symptoms in Adults
Symptoms of acid reflux can include:
- Excessive mucous or phlegm
- Throat clearing
- A sense of post-nasal drip
- A sensation of a lump in the throat
- Sore throat
- Choking spells
Singers will often notice:
- Increased warm-up time
- A “coating” sensation on the vocal folds
- Sluggish voice
More significant issues arise in a tiny minority of persons, including:
- Vocal fold scarring
- Ulcers or granulomas of the larynx
Long-term acid reflux may also increase the risk of getting cancer in the esophagus or throat.
Symptoms in Children
Children may experience symptoms that differ from adults;
- Persistent vomiting
- Bleeding from the esophagus
- Respiratory symptoms
- Unexplained fussiness and crying in children is due to acid reflux
- Choking spells
- Recurrent pneumonia
- Swallowing problems