Can Heartburn Cause Throat Tightness?

Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that often worsens after eating (via Mayo Clinic). During a heartburn episode, acid from the stomach enters the esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach and mouth. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, fatty meats, fried foods, and citrus fruits are common heartburn triggers. The longer the undigested food sits in your stomach, the more likely you are to experience heartburn.

Among heartburn's numerous symptoms that include a bitter taste in your mouth or pain in the chest, you might also feel a burning sensation moving up and down the throat, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While heartburn isn't always dangerous, it's crucial to see a doctor if your symptoms worsen or if they interfere with your daily life.

Besides food and eating habits, various other factors can cause heartburn. Cleveland Clinic notes that if you're pregnant, have a hiatal hernia, or take anti-inflammatory drugs, your risk of heartburn can increase. But can heartburn cause throat tightness?

Can heartburn cause throat tightness?

Heartburn might be no cause for alarm. But it can be upsetting if you experience uneasiness, pain, or throat tightness. According to WebMD, heartburn is actually a common cause of throat tightness. The issue begins when stomach acids escape up your esophagus into your throat. This can cause you to have difficulty swallowing, sore throat, or a burning sensation. If your heartburn is frequent, you might be showing signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) —the advanced form of frequent heartburn and acid reflux (per Healthline).

According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you develop GERD, acid reflux may become more persistent than before. But the symptoms may vary from person to person. Sometimes, you may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or your throat might feel tight. Other symptoms may include cough, bad breath, or hoarseness, especially in the morning. Some common complications include ulcers and permanent esophageal damage, which can increase the risk of esophageal cancer. If you suspect GERD is behind your throat tightness, it's crucial to contact your doctor for early diagnosis.

Other possible causes of throat tightness

Besides heartburn or GERD, various other conditions can cause your throat to feel unusually tight. According to WebMD, throat tightness might be due to an allergic reaction to food, certain medications, or an insect bite. Another name for this allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, which occurs minutes or hours after exposure to allergens. This condition doesn't only affect the throat; it might come with a wide range of symptoms, including stomach pains or itching in your mouth or eyes. Your tight throat might also be due to an inflammation of the lymph nodes in your throat and neck due to tonsillitis.

According to Healthline, your throat may become tighter due to chronic stress or anxiety. When you're stressed, you might sometimes feel like there's something stuck in your throat. This is known as a globus sensation (per WebMD). Besides anxiety and tonsillitis, strep throat and goiter (a condition that enlarges your thyroid gland, making it hard to breathe or swallow) can also cause sudden tightness (via Healthline).