Heartburn (Acid Reflux) 

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.

Diagnostics

Fibreoptic endoscopy, Oesophagogastroduodenoscopy (OGD), 24 hour oesophageal pH manometry, Helicobacter breath test, barium swallow.