Irritating acidic juices may back up from the stomach into the oesophagus (gullet) and throat. This is called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This may occur at any time, but happens more often when lying down. The most common symptom of acid reflux is “heartburn” due to irritation of the lining of the oesophagus.
Most people do not know that acid reflux can also cause voice problems or symptoms in the pharynx (back of throat). This can happen to someone even if they are not aware of any heartburn, and is sometimes called silent reflux, atypical reflux, or laryngopharyngeal reflux.
Symptoms of acid reflux may include: hoarseness, excessive mucous or phlegm, throat clearing, a sensation of a lump in the throat, sore throat, choking spells, wheezing, or a sense of post-nasal drip. Singers will often notice an increased warm-up time, a sluggish voice (particularly early in the day), or a sense of a “coating” on the vocal folds. In a small percentage of people, more serious problems result, including: pneumonia, ulcers or granulomas of the larynx, vocal fold scarring, or a pouch (diverticulum) of the upper oesophagus.
Fibreoptic endoscopy, Oesophagogastroduodenoscopy (OGD), 24 hour oesophageal pH manometry, Helicobacter breath test, barium swallow.
Dr Gerald Brookes is regularly consulted by the media for his expertise. He has been interviewed by the Daily Mail, featured on Channel 4's Embarassing Bodies, looked after The X-Factor contestants and recently, appeared on BBC Radio 2 with Chris Evans.
Adele was experiencing dizziness and balance problems so severe that she could barely function. In desperation, after consulting her GP to no avail, she got in touch with Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies team. The show then contacted Dr Gerald Brookes, who was able to diagnose her rare condition as Basilar Migraine.
Related link: Embarrassing Bodies
Catherine Eade was having dizzy spells and balance problems. When inexplicably she started suffering memory loss too, she consulted Dr Gerald Brookes at The Harley Street ENT Clinic who correctly diagnosed her problem as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
Read her full story in the Daily Mail: Memory like a sieve? Why a simple ear infection may be to blame.
The Harley Street ENT Clinic looked after The X-Factor TV show contestants for many seasons. At the end of the 2010 season, Dr Gerald Brookes was interviewed by Nicky Broyd of Boots WebMD on the perils of high pressure performing.