Acid Reflux and Excessive Mucus Production
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when acid escapes from the stomach and travels up the esophagus. The common name for GERD is acid indigestion. Food that you eat travels down the esophagus, past a valve, and into the stomach. The valve is supposed to keep the food and acid in the stomach from coming back up. In the case of GERD, the valve is not doing its job. People who have GERD report feeling like food is trapped behind the breastbone. They experience heart burn in the chest which gets worse when they bend, stoop, lie down, or eat. GERD is usually worse at night. People with GERD often feel nauseous after eating.
When acid travels back up the esophagus, the body works very hard to protect itself from damage. Many patients find that acid reflux and excessive mucus production go hand in hand. One of the body’s responses to this acid is to produce excessive mucus. The relationship between acid reflux and excessive mucus production not only affects the esophagus, but it can affect the lungs and sinuses as well. When fumes from the acid are inhaled, excessive mucus is created in the lungs. People with this complication will be coughing up phlegm. The sinuses are also affected by acid reflux and mucus production. You can control acid reflux and excessive mucus production by taking medications to control the amount of acid and by making lifestyle changes.
Acid reflux foods to avoid include carbonated drinks, caffeine and alcohol. Tomatoes, tomato sauces, citrus juices and fruits can make the condition worse. Avoid fatty or spicy foods, chocolate, spearmint, peppermint and full fat dairy products.
You can also control acid reflux and excessive mucus production by eating smaller meals, sleeping with your head raised about 6 inches, and not bending over or exercising right after eating. If you smoke, stop. If you are overweight, drop a few pounds. Learn to reduce and manage stress. Working with your doctor and making these lifestyle changes will enable you to manage acid reflux and excessive mucus production.