Reflux: Gastro-oesophageal / Pharyngeal Reflux

Acid Reflux (Gastro-Oesophageal / Laryngo-Pharyngeal reflux) occurs when the contents of the stomach enter the gullet / throat. If infrequent this may not cause any problems. If frequent patients may experience problems. If the gullet is affected patients may experience burning pain in the chest. If the throat is affected the symptoms may be more varied and include a sensation of bitter liquid or something in the throat (globus pharyngeus), throat clearing, throat pain, cough or hoarseness. Generally swallowing normal food is not affected.

Treatment

Try to make sure your weight is in the normal range. Excess weight increases reflux.

Reduce and preferably eliminate caffeine(in tea, coffee and fizzy drinks), fizzy drinks and alcohol. Take decaffeinated drinks.

Do not eat for 3 hours before bed. The top of the bed can be elevated by putting a book underneath the bed.

Certain medication can increase reflux e.g. calcium channel blockers. Discuss this with your GP.

Medication can be used to reduce acid production in the stomach, e.g PPI’s. These include Omeprazole and Lansoprazole. These are best taken twice a day one hour before eating . Gaviscon advance may provide some protection for the gullet and throat against acid, bile and enzymes. It can be taken 4 times a day: after each meal and before bed. It may take up to 2 months for the medication to take effect.