How Acid Reflux Affects The Tongue

Acid reflux is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) it is an unpleasant condition that affects the digestive tract.  The main cause of GORD is a weak sphincter muscle between the stomach and oesophagus which allows acid to travel back up from the stomach.  This causes a burning sensation in the chest, a sour taste in the mouth and a burning sensation on the tongue.

Stomach acid is a corrosive liquid that causes damage to the oesophagus sometimes causing Barrett's oesophagus.  This is a precursor to cancer because the cells change and become cancerous. It is therefore important to consult your doctor if you experience frequent acid reflux to make sure there is no damage.

Acid on the tongue causes a burning sensation, taste changes, numbness and tingling which also makes swallowing difficult. A burning tongue is one symptom among a host of other people with acid reflux encounter.  Topical treatments such as drinking more water, sucking ice cubes and salt water help to relieve treatments but don’t address the underlying cause.

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Acid Reflux Symptoms

Acid reflux is a symptom of GORD which is a condition affecting the digestive tract.  The stomach produces too much acid and a weak sphincter muscle allows it to travel back up to the throat.  This causes a burning sensation in the chest and we also call it heartburn or indigestion. Some people have these symptoms occasionally after a big meal or rich foods and it is not a cause for concern.  However recurring symptoms require medical intervention to identify the cause. Sometimes the burning sensation is so strong it feels as if you are having a heart attack and visiting the doctor imperative.

Stomach acid causes sufferers to have a sore throat, bad breath, cough, feel nauseous, vomit, have difficulty swallowing and a burning sensation on the tongue.  The only way to relieve these symptoms is to treat the root cause and reduce acid travelling up to the throat.

Treatments

The most effective treatment for acid reflux are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Omeprazole or Lansoprazole. They relieve symptoms by reducing the production of acid in the stomach.  Symptoms usually desist after a few days and the capsule is effective for twenty-four hours. There are side effects such as; a headache, dizziness and diarrhoea but most people benefit from taking the medication.

There are concerns about taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for longer than a year because they may affect bone density and mineral levels in the body.  Therefore it is important to make lifestyle changes to help relieve symptoms these include; eating small portions, sleeping in an elevated position, avoiding alcohol, smoking and spicy foods.

Persistent acid reflux requires medical intervention and exploration using a camera in the stomach (endoscopy). This determines if the cause is a stomach ulcer which displaces the acid in the stomach.  Treatment with a proton pump inhibitor gives the ulcer the opportunity to heal and hopefully resolve the problem.

This treatment will relieve burning tongue symptoms and improve your sense of taste.

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By Parv Sagoo (July 2018)