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Battling hoarseness or acid reflux?

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Do you know someone that continually sounds like they have a frog in their throat? If so, they may have chronic hoarseness caused by acid reflux.

What is hoarseness?

Hoarseness is when you have problems producing sound, often due to throat irritation. Your vocal folds could be swollen or irritated from overusing your voice, having an illness (cold/cough), or from allergies. Your voice may sound breathy, scratchy, rough, raspy or even barely audible.

What is acid reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly referred to as acid reflux, is a digestive disorder. It involves stomach acid or bile entering your esophagus, causing discomfort and damage to the lining. If stomach acid reaches the throat, you may be suffering from acid reflux, you might have a chronic cough, a feeling of fullness in your ears, a feeling that something is stuck in your throat, a need to clear your throat often and hoarseness.

How do you treat hoarseness and acid reflux?

Resting your voice is the most common treatment for hoarseness. However, if your throat irritation is due to an infection, you may need to take antibiotics. Hoarseness can result from nodules, polyps or other benign growths. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove them.

If you suspect your hoarseness is the result of acid reflux, some over-the-counter medications that block the production of acid in the stomach might work. In addition to non-prescription and prescription medicines, changes in diet and lifestyle can be effective in treating acid reflux. Consume smaller meals. Avoid eating greasy and spicy foods. Remain sitting or standing upright after you eat.

If you are suffering from hoarseness, but are unsure of the cause, you may need to see an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist who can look in your throat with a scope. The scope allows the doctor to see your vocal cords and record a video of them moving as well as see if there are any nodules, irritation, signs of acid reflux, or other issues that might be causing your hoarseness.

The highly trained physicians at SIU Medicine are equipped to handle even the toughest ENT problems including hoarseness and acid reflux. Utilizing the insights of medical researchers around the world, your doctor will create the best treatment plan available to alleviate your unique concern.

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