If your only symptom is excess saliva, can this be caused by GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)?

Excess saliva can be quite a scary symptom if you know that it’s a symptom of Bulbar-onset ALS.

But you have to realize that excess saliva not only results from the inability to efficiently swallow (caused by ALS), but the over-activity of the salivary glands — which is not caused by ALS but often by anxiety.

There is yet another mechanism that produces what a patient might describe as “a lot of saliva in my mouth.”

GERD’s Connection to Excess Saliva

Excess saliva can be caused by a number of conditions, but can this symptom be the only presentation of acid reflux?

“GERD is a condition that causes an abnormal amount of acid to reside in the esophagus,” says Jay Desai, MD, who specializes in colon cancer screening, upper endoscopy and consultative gastroenterology at the New York Gastroenterology Associates.

Scientific Animations, Creative Commons/BY-SA/Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Dr. Desai continues, “Some patients will not experience the classic sensation of burning.

“However, they may still have acid exposure in the mouth and esophagus which could manifest as excess saliva, coughing or a hoarse voice. It’s important to note that the mechanisms for this are unclear.”

Have you found that severe, ongoing anxiety causes excess saliva?

The anxiety actually triggers acid reflux, and hence, you have the annoying but benign symptom of the excess “saliva.”

However, in this case, the situation has nothing to do with the salivary glands becoming overly active.

At any rate, it’s a harmless symptom, and when the anxiety diminishes, you’ll notice that the symptom goes away.

Drinking water or herbal tea may provide some relief while the issue runs its course.

dr. desai

Board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Desai is available for same-day appointments and provides a wide range of GI services including for bacterial overgrowth, constipation, acid reflux and GERD, IBS, incontinence, small bowel disease. Twitter handle: @NYGADocs
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
Top image: Shutterstock/sirtravelalot
Sources: nyga.md
Facebook: facebook.com/NYGastroenterologyAssociates