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Can Acid Reflux Cause Sinus Pain?

When you think about acid reflux, sinuses might not come to mind. Believe it or not, there are some specific correlations between acid reflux and sinus problems. Along with heartburn and other digestive complaints, acid reflux can contribute to a number of respiratory conditions.

In this blog, Manhattan Otolaryngologist, Dr. David Volpi will explain whether acid reflux can cause sinus pain.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is the result of acid, produced by your stomach that leaks into your esophagus. Normally, a valve at the entrance of your stomach, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes as soon as food goes through it. When the LES doesn’t close all the way, or open more often than it should, acid doesn’t stay where it is meant to be.

Millions of Americans deal with acid reflux, at least once a month. Acid reflux usually causes the familiar heartburn sensation, but this is not the only symptom. Regurgitation, burping, nausea, bloating or abdominal pain can all be indicators of acid reflux. Sometimes, gastric acid makes its way up to the throat, mouth and sinuses, resulting in inflammation and irritation.

What Is The Connection Between Acid Reflux And Sinusitis?

The correlation between acid reflux and sinusitis in not yet fully understood. There are several possible reasons that acid reflux sufferers experience pain and swelling in the sinuses (sinusitis).

One possible reason is that exposure to gastric acid may injure the lining of the nasal cavities. This could lead to a series of immune responses that allow infections to occur. Acid may also irritate the sympathetic nerves in the respiratory system, leading to nasal congestion, increased nasal secretions and post-nasal drainage.

Acid reflux frequently leads to chronic sinusitis. Many people who experience acid reflux also suffer from significant post-nasal drip, along with a choking sensation. When this acid reflux occurs without the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion, sufferers are not otherwise alerted to their condition.

What Can I Do To Alleviate The Sinus Pain, Caused By Acid Reflux?

There are certain diet and lifestyle changes that can help to minimize your acid reflux, reducing your sinus pain, like:

  • Opting for low-fat, high protein foods
  • Eating smaller portions, more often
  • Avoiding “trigger foods,” such as coffee, soda, alcohol, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, onions, garlic and spicy foods
  • Not eating for at least 3 hours before lying down for bed
  • Raising your head and legs while sleeping
  • Not smoking
  • Loosening tight clothing or belts to reduce extra pressure around your stomach

Where Can I Get Evaluated For Sinusitis Caused By Acid Reflux In NYC?

If you suspect that your sinusitis may be caused by acid reflux, it is important to seek medical treatment from a doctor who is experienced treating ear, nose and throat conditions. Acid reflux is rarely serious, but when it happens continuously, it can lead to long-term tissue damage. A board certified otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) can help you to determine the cause of your aching sinus and develop a personalized treatment plan.

Dr. Volpi is a board certified otolaryngologist who is on staff at some of New York City’s best hospitals, such as Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. He is experienced in performing all of the newest minimally invasive procedures used to treat sinusitis and is committed to providing the highest standard of care while utilizing the most advanced technologies available to diagnose and treat his patients.

Don’t continue to suffer from sinusitis caused by acid reflux. Schedule your appointment at ENT NY’s Upper East Side or Upper West Side office by calling (212) 873-6036 or contact us via our web form.

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Posted in: ENT doctor, Sinusitis, Uncategorized