One of the first steps in treating acid reflux/GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is to know what’s triggering your symptoms. Food triggers vary but certain foods, such as tomatoes and onions, and beverages, like coffee and alcohol, are commonly known to trigger symptoms.
But another possible trigger may also be lurking in your medicine cabinet. While non-chewable pills are meant to pass through your esophagus into your stomach or intestines before dissolving, sometimes these pills can get caught in your esophagus and cause acid reflux flare-ups.
If you’ve ever felt that pill stuck in throat burning sensation, read on to learn about which medications could be irritating your acid reflux and what you can do to minimize your symptoms. Use the links below to skip to the section that best answers your query, or read through for a comprehensive overview of the topic.
When a pill is stuck in your throat, it can break down and release the medication causing damage to your esophagus. Tablets can also get lodged in the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), a small valve right above your stomach. In both cases, these medications can cause reflux symptoms when not properly ingested.
Over time, repeated esophageal exposure to medications can lead to GERD, esophagitis, and other serious diseases. In some cases, the harmful effects are worse than the ailment that prompted the medication.
When you swallow food, water, or your medication, the particles have to travel down through your esophagus and eventually land in your stomach, but sometimes, objects, like pills, get stuck at the top of the esophagus. At the top of your esophagus, there’s a ring-like muscle called the cricopharyngeus5, which helps control which objects can pass through. If the cricopharyngeus does not relax as you swallow, your pill might get stuck.
To avoid that uncomfortable pill stuck in your throat feeling, and resulting reflux symptoms, you’ll want to ensure that your medication passes through your throat as smoothly as possible. We’ll discuss some pill swallowing techniques to help you avoid inducing reflux a little later on in this post.
Dull, aching pain in the chest or shoulder after taking medication is a warning sign that a pill may be lodged in your esophagus. Having a pill stuck in your throat is uncomfortable as is, but certain medications manifest more irritating effects, such as acid reflux, when they break down in your esophagus.
The types of drugs that can cause reflux and other problems when lodged in the esophagus include:
While food-related triggers can be avoided, taking medication may be essential to treat a disease, relieve pain, or fight off an infection. It is important to understand how to reduce the risks of drug-induced GERD and other esophageal damage.
If your medication is causing acid reflux symptoms, talk to your doctor to see if there are any alternative treatment methods you can employ. Additionally, whether you’re taking acid reflux medication, aspirin, ibuprofen, or some other irritating medicine, it’s important to make sure that you’re following proper precautions when administering your medication. To help you minimize the potential for acid reflux irritation when taking your medication, we’ve outlined some tips below.
When a pill gets stuck in your throat, it deteriorates and releases the medication over time, potentially causing reflux flare-ups and ultimately, damage to your esophagus. To avoid this scenario or getting a pill stuck in your windpipe, it’s important to take precautions when consuming any medication orally.
Here are some tips6 to help a capsule pass through the esophagus quickly and into the stomach:
In addition to following the above best practices, be sure to avoid these common mistakes when taking medication:
Note: If swallowing is painful or if the tablets or capsules get stuck in your throat, you should contact your doctor. Trouble swallowing could signal a more serious condition.
While medication can be an important part of managing disease, it can also trigger acid reflux and lead to GERD and other conditions. By taking your pills with care, you can limit your risk of drug-induced complications from obstruction of the esophagus. And, when possible, supplement or replace medications with preventative treatments that don’t have unwanted side effects (always consult with your doctor first before changing a drug regimen).
When a pill gets stuck in your throat, it can cause damage to your esophagus, including inflammation, acid reflux flare-ups, and potentially pill-induced esophagitis7. With that said, if a pill gets stuck in your throat, you should never leave it to dissolve, but rather wash it down with food or water. You can also try lying down as you swallow the water to encourage your throat to relax and dislodge the pill.
In addition to abiding by these recommended pill-ingesting techniques, keep these tips for managing acid reflux in mind:
Keep these best practices and use our tips to prevent pills from getting stuck in your throat, and you’ll find the relief you’ve been searching for in no time.
Some of our customers have offered feedback, including comments about their personal experience with reducing or eliminating the need for acid reflux medications when using the MedCline Reflux Relief System. We hope to continue to help others find acid reflux relief outside of the medicine cabinet.
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