As you know someone who suffers from acid reflux has acid reflux up and out of their stomach where it can cause a host of symptoms. For someone with GERD or minor acid reflux the acid usually effects the area just above the stomach and this often leads to symptoms like heartburn.
For someone with LPR (silent reflux) the acid will reflux all the way up and enter the throat area where the most common symptoms arise. Whether you have a more serious problem with acid reflux or only a minor one both sets of people’s sinuses can be affected by reflux.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Sinus Problems?
Of course, it is possible acid can reflux up until the point where it can affect your sinuses and even cause nasal congestion. Not only can it block your sinuses, but it can also affect your breathing in more serious cases. As you would imagine the acid causes direct inflammation which can make the sinuses more swollen. Also, along with the acid there is a thing called pepsin which refluxes up. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme that is produced in the stomach and is used to break down proteins in the stomach. When pepsin enters the throat and the airways it will only further irritate and inflame them.
While anyone with acid reflux can be affected it is more prominent in people who suffer from LPR. This is because for someone with LPR it is more typical for the acid to reflux up into the throat where it can start to reach your sinuses. Whereas for someone with GERD or just minor acid reflux it is more uncommon for acid to reflux further up the esophagus and start to affect your sinuses/breathing though it is still possible.
Some people who may be suffering from breathing problems may have difficulty knowing if their problem is related to acid reflux or instead asthma – luckily there is a reliable way to know the difference. Someone who has asthma will have difficulty exhaling (breathing out) whereas someone who is being affected by acid reflux will have trouble inhaling (breathing in). This is the clear distinction between the 2 that is important to know.
Also it’s worth mentioning that there is a relation between acid reflux and sinusitis. If you didn’t know sinusitis is a problem where the lining of the sinuses become inflamed. Of of the more common causes is due to viral infections but in our case the acid is causing the damage and inflammation. The same thing can also be said for post nasal drip and acid reflux. It’s a cause that sometimes isn’t even considered.
So, to simply round everything up – can acid reflux cause sinus congestion? The simple answer is yes it absolutely can.
The thing you are most likely thinking now is how can I prevent it from happening. Well there are a host of things you can do which will lower the chance of acid reflux. Firstly, I would recommend checking out my article of how to get rid of acid reflux in the throat – the reason I recommend this article is because the same advice that I have suggested in this article will directly help with any form of sinus congestion due to acid reflux. Secondly I would also recommend my article on LPR symptoms where I talk about the symptoms of silent reflux in detail which could be potentially effecting you.