Can Acid Reflux Really Make It Harder For You To Breathe?

Acid reflux, a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), happens when stomach acid leaks into the esophagus. According to WebMD, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a ring of muscle found at the entrance of your stomach and works like a valve. The LES is supposed to close after food passes through. When it doesn't, that provides an opportunity for stomach acid to go back up the esophagus. In some cases, the acid from your stomach can even enter your mouth. People who experience acid reflux at least three times a week may have GERD.

Acid reflux can be triggered by a variety of different factors in one's lifestyle, but is most influenced by what you eat and drink. Cedars-Sinai reports the most common trigger of acid reflux is eating foods high in fat and acid, such as chocolate, coffee, onions, citrus fruits, and spicy foods. Tobacco has also been known to interfere with the LES by relaxing the muscle too much.

Symptoms of acid reflux

If you've ever had acid reflux, you know the symptoms that come with it are anything but fun. Symptoms of acid reflux include burning in the chest (known as heartburn), sore throat, regurgitation, hiccups, bloating, burping, and a bitter taste in the mouth, reports Medical News Today.

Another symptom many people may not expect with the condition is shortness of breath. Most often, shortness of breath occurs during sleep or after consuming a big meal. There is a link between GERD and asthma, according to K Health.

It is believed that the throat, lungs, and airway may become damaged by acid reflux, and that this can make it more difficult to breathe. Acid reflux symptoms can become worse when lying down, so it is recommended to avoid eating large meals or potentially triggering foods before bed. You should also maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, and wear loose-fitting clothing. Experts at K Health advise seeing a doctor if you experience shortness of breath or a persistent cough.