Some surprising facts about the effects of heartburn and hoarseness, what heartburn does to your voice, and tips on how to deal with it
Heartburn is a burning sensation resulting from acid reflux, the rising of gastric acid to the esophagus. The effects of heartburn can be harmful on the voice causing inflammation, a burning sensation, vocal fatigue, hoarseness, vocal weakness or roughness, and so on.
How heartburn affects our voice?
The gastric acid, rising to the esophagus, reaches the vocal folds (commonly known as “vocal cords”) and causes vocal performance disorders. But, contrary to a common mistake, the solution is not reducing the gastric acid level!
In other words, a normal or even high level of gastric acid does not necessarily result in acids rising towards your esophagus and throat. Similarly, heartburn is not necessarily a symptom of high gastric acid level.
Moreover: gastric acid, when it doesn’t reach the esophagus, is essential for the normal functioning of your digestive system, allowing it to decompose your food so it could be absorbed in your body. Therefore, low gastric acid levels might result in many disorders. An illustrative example would be vitamin B12 deficiency, which results in weakness, fatigue, mood changes, depression, memory loss, and other disorders.
If you are one of over 50 percent of the general population who occasionally suffer the effects of heartburn or acid reflux, you should read the following information on gastric acids and tips on preventing it and protecting it from harming your voice.
When acid rises from your stomach to your larynx, it burns your vocal folds and makes normal voice generation difficult. Therefore, when treating a seemingly unexplainable chronic hoarseness, an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT) looks first of all for ailments and acid residues on the vocal folds (in addition to other possible causes for hoarseness).
The commonly used remedy to counter the effects of heartburn or acid reflux is acidity-neutralizing tablets. The trouble is that, in addition to neutralizing the gastric acid rising to the esophagus, these tablets also reduce the gastric acid level too low. This may result in digestive system disorders, vitamins and minerals deficiencies, allergies, and other disorders. In some cases, stopping the use of these tablets may worsen the pre-use condition. As any good doctor should warn you, the use of tablets has its cost, so, before using medicine, consider using alternative treatments such as lifestyle changes or the use of natural solutions.
I know many doctors who would hesitate to recommend acid-neutralizing tablets, or prescribe them for a rather short period of time. Some, of course, may recommend a long use of these tablets. Here, as in any medical problem, one must see the big picture, weighing the risks against the benefits.
These are some of possible causes of acid reflux and heartburn, which your doctor may detect:
- Paradoxically, it is in times of gastric acid deficiency that you may suffer from gastric acid rise. So, if you suffer heartburn, drink a lot of water, since it takes a great amount of liquid to generate gastric acid.
- Salts or minerals deficiency, without which gastric acid are not strong enough to allow digestion. If your examinations show minerals deficiency, put a grain of Atlantic salt under your tongue before every meal.
- Acid reflux may also result from chronic gastritis, during which gastric acid levels are low.
Prolonged reduction of gastric acidity to too low levels, by using tablets, has its ill-effects, such as the following:
- Mineral loss;
- Difficulties of absorbing vitamins essential for the general functioning of your body;
- Difficulties of absorbing B12 vitamin, iron and other vitamins, resulting in anemia (red blood cells deficiency)
- Neuron damage, resulting in general dysfunction of your body.
- Due to B12 vitamin deficiency, an increased risk of helicobacter pylori presence, which might affect your larynx and the entire body.
Our tips for preventing acid reflux
A radical solution must combine several treatments:
- Consult a dietician, to design an anti-reflux diet;
- avoid altogether orreducethe consumption of acid-rich foods such as:
- Dairy products;
- Fried food;
- Spicy-hot food;
- Carbonated soft drinks;
- Fat-rich foods;
- Increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables other than those mentioned above.
- Consume heartburn-relieving foods that counter the effects of heartburn such as:
- Chamomile tea;
- Fennel tea;
- Ginger tea;
- Eat your food in small meals throughout the day, and never drink for 30 minutes before and after your meal.
- Remember to drink a lot of water;
- Only eat when you are calm. If you eat when you are in a state of tension, your food is digested insufficiently, and gastric acid may reflux.
- Consider taking a short walk after a rich meal (not a full blown workout!!).
- Avoid eating about 3 hours before bedtime. It you suffer a serious gastric acid reflux, sleep on your left side, to relieve the pressure on your stomach.
- If necessary, complement B12 vitamin deficiency, by consuming meat and food containing yeast. Yeast also generate acid, so if you do not consume them regularly, you must take a food additive.
- Minimize the taking of unnecessary medications, after consulting your doctor.
- Quit or at least decrease smoking. In addition to poisoning your body, smoking also weakens the esophagus sphincter, or gate.
- If you are overweight, lose weight, in order to decrease the pressure on your stomach.
- Gastric acid is good, as long as it stays in your stomach, since it is essential for your digestion.
- Acid reflux and heartburn require a treatment and a lifestyle change to avoid and mitigate the effects of heartburn.
As in the case of other vocal disorders, TMRG has developed a concentrated oils mixture TMRG Voice Synergy Oil (#6), for instantly clearing acid reflux residue that is harmful to clear and pleasant voice generation, as well as protecting your cords against acidity accumulated effects. We also offer ourHealthy Vocal Diet and Guide to a Healthy Voice ebooks that instruct on the proper diet and lifestyle to prevent the ill effects of acid reflux
TMRG voice specialist