How Can GERD Create Shortness of Breath?


Quick Answer

According to Healthline, shortness of breath from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid causes narrowing of the esophagus and swelling of the vocal folds and respiratory system. GERD is caused by malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

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Full Answer

With overexposure to stomach acid, the LES relaxes, allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus. This stomach acid may eventually reach the respiratory system. GERD is treated by prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications or lifestyle modifications. To limit GERD-related shortness of breath, try raising the head of the bed, eating 3-4 prior to sleep and avoiding foods that seem to increase GERD symptoms. Some foods to avoid include citrus fruits and juices, fatty foods and alcohol.

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