Gastric gas can cause a heart attack

Silent reflux: what helps with heartburn

Status: 14.09.2020 11:23 a.m.
Rising stomach acid can cause coughs and hoarseness.

The backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus (reflux) often leads to classic heartburn: Often after a large meal, after alcohol or in the evening when you are in bed, a painful burning sensation becomes noticeable in the chest. Difficulty swallowing, coughing, hoarseness and constant clearing of the throat can also be indications of reflux disease. In so-called silent reflux, stomach acid rises in the form of very fine droplets up to the throat and irritates the larynx, vocal cords and airways. If the stomach acid rises mainly when lying down, the symptoms often show up right in the morning after getting up.

Silent reflux: recognizing symptoms

The symptoms of silent reflux disease are non-specific:

  • chronic cough
  • Sore throat
  • hoarseness
  • Lump feeling in the throat
  • Clearing the throat
  • Asthma and breathing problems
  • Recurring sore throat
  • difficulties swallowing
  • increased phlegm formation in the throat
  • chronic sinus infection

What helps with heartburn and reflux?

Heartburn can cause coughing, hoarseness, and constant clearing of your throat. Gastroenterologist Prof. Jürgen Pohl explains what helps against the symptoms caused by reflux. 4 min

Detect reflux by gastroscopy and pH-metry

A gastroscopy can be used to determine whether reflux is present: the mucous membrane at the transition between the stomach and esophagus is reddened and sore. In order to find out whether acid gases from the stomach are the cause of complaints in the throat, a so-called pH-metry is carried out: the doctor pushes a small probe through the nose into the throat. The probe measures the acid level for 24 hours and thus provides information as to whether gases are rising from the stomach and whether there is an unnoticed reflux that could not be detected in a gastroscopy.

In some cases, the acid does not come from the stomach, but occurs in the esophagus itself. A heterotopic stomach lining then grows there and produces stomach acid that can irritate the top of the esophagus and the larynx. The problem can be eliminated by removing the heterotopic gastric lining.

Pepsins: gastric enzymes as a possible cause

Pepsins are stomach enzymes that break down food in the stomach. Together with the stomach acid, they can rise up the esophagus as a kind of gas - up to the throat and larynx. There they penetrate the mucous membrane cells. If an acidic environment develops in the larynx, for example due to the wrong food, the pepsins are activated. They begin to break down the mucous membranes in the larynx.

Exactly how great the influence of pepsins is in an unnoticed reflux is still being researched. It is different for every patient.

Medication and proper diet for reflux

Silent reflux is treated like heartburn - with so-called proton pump inhibitors. They ensure that the stomach produces less stomach acid. So-called antacids can also be used for occasional complaints.

In order to get the problem under control in the long run, the most important thing is the right diet: Those who suffer from reflux should eat a lot of protein, little sweets and rather small meals, do not eat too late and avoid being overweight.

Diet for heartburn

A lot of protein, little sweets, rather small meals instead of two or three large ones - that protects the stomach and esophagus. Also important: eat dinner early before lying down. more

Experts on the subject

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Pohl, chief physician
Asklepios Clinic Altona
Paul-Ehrlich-Strasse 1
22763 Hamburg
(040) 18 18 81-12 01

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Christina Pflug, clinic director
Clinic and polyclinic for hearing, voice and speech medicine
Head and Neurocenter
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistrasse 52
20246 Hamburg
(040) 74 10-59 340

Prof. Dr. Markus M. Hess, specialist in ENT medicine, specialist in phoniatrics and pediatric audiology
German voice clinic
Martinistrasse 64
20251 Hamburg
(040) 513 130 07

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Viola Andresen, MSc, head of the nutrition team
Israelite hospital
Orchid climb 14
22297 Hamburg

additional Information
German society for combating diseases of the stomach, intestines and liver as well as disorders of metabolism and nutrition (Gastro-Liga) e. V.
Friedrich-List-Strasse 13
35398 casting
(0641) 9 74 81-0

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Visit | 09/15/2020 | 8:15 pm