Burning in Throat

When you experience a burning sensation in your throat, your first thought might not be to take an antacid. Many people do not think pain in the throat has anything to do with acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but that burning in the throat could be a sign of stomach acid irritating your throat and your esophagus.

Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle (LES), located at the bottom of your esophagus, relaxes abnormally, allowing stomach acid to flow back into your esophagus. The LES works like a valve, connecting the esophagus to the stomach. It opens to allow food into your stomach and then closes to keep food and acid from flowing back into your esophagus. Pressure on this muscle from overeating or excess weight can cause it to open and allow acid back into the esophagus. Sometimes the acid can flow all the way to your throat, which sits at the top of your esophagus, creating irritation and a burning sensation. Along with this burning pain, you may also experience a hot, sour, acidic, salty-tasting fluid at the back of the throat.

Other Symptoms of Burning in the Throat

  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic cough
  • These symptoms can be treated by making changes to your lifestyle, such as eating smaller meals, avoiding foods that can trigger acid reflux (alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods) and maintaining a healthy weight. You can also treat this pain with over-the-counter medications such as antacids, PPIs, also known as proton pump inhibitors, and H2 blockers. However, if you experience this burning sensation frequently, you may have a more serious condition such as GERD and need to talk with a gastroenterologist.