Image found on WebMD
The Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation has released another of it's excellent patient education sheets, found this month's issue of Sjogren's Quarterly. SSF members can log in to the Foundation site to review all of their education materials.
The latest is entitled Reflux and Your Throat and is authored by Soo Kim Abboud, MD, Assistant Professor with the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
While the exact reasons are unknown, may patients with Sjogren's suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease. (GERD). This can cause a wide variety of symptoms that can be mistaken for other conditions. Symptoms may include persistent heartburn and/or regurgitation of acid, stomach pain, hoarseness or voice change, throat pain, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, sensation of having a lump in the throat, frequent throat clearing and chronic cough (especially at night time or upon awakening).
Tips for combating gastroesophageal reflux in the throat:
- Avoid lying flat during sleep. Elevate the head of your bed using blocks or by placing a styrofoam wedge under the mattress. Do not rely on pillows as these may only raise the head but not the esophagus.
- Don't gorge yourself at mealtime. Eat smaller more frequent meals and one large meal.
- Avoid bedtime snacks and eat meals at least three-four hours before lying down.
- Lose any excess weight.
- Avoid spicy, acidic, or fatty foods including citrus fruits of juices, tomato-based products, peppermint, chocolate, and alcohol.
- Limit your intake of caffeine including coffee, tea and colas.
- Stop smoking.
- Don't exercise within one-two hours after eating.
- Promote saliva flow by chewing gum, sucking on lozenges or taking prescription medications such as pilocarpine and cevimeline. This can help neutralize stomach acid and reduce symptoms.
- Consult your doctor if you have heartburn or take antacids more than three times per week. A variety of OTC and prescription medications can help but should only be taken with medical supervision.