Is it possible for the drippy mucus that comes from your nose to leak down into your esophagus and cause GERD?

You may already know that acid reflux can get kicked up as high as the nasal cavity, causing burning in the nose.

But now the question is the reverse: whether or not mucus from your nose can drip down the back of the throat and get into the esophagus or “food pipe,” and trigger acid reflux or heartburn.

Acid Reflux and the Nose

“It actually works the other way around,” says Dr. C. Phillip Amoils, MD, chief of surgery at Sinus Center LA in Pacific Palisades, CA, and a board certified otolaryngologist.

“Chronic GERD can reach up all the way to the sinuses, particularly in young kids who are regurgitating, and that can cause inflammation of the sinuses as it’s ascending up the esophagus and hitting the back of the nose – so that’s one of the issues,” explains Dr. Amoils.

“Postnasal drip, if it’s severe, can give you this chronic runny nose and can slightly irritate the stomach – but it’s usually the GERD that causes the problems, not the other way around.”

Triggers for Acid Reflux

So now you know that the triggers do not include anything going on with the nose, no matter how drippy and voluminous the mucus is.

You may have both GERD and a good case of postnasal drip, independent of each other as far as cause.

Acid reflux, including that which gets as high as the throat or nose, can be brought on by:

• Spicy foods
• Chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee
• Alcohol
• Large meals
• Eating close to bedtime
• Weak esophageal sphincter muscle
• Acute or chronic anxiety

If you have nasal drip that persists despite treatment for a suspected allergy, you should have an ear, nose and throat physician examine you. If one already has, seek a second opinion. A persistent discharge from the nose can be caused by a sinus tumor.