When we consider the different side effects of sleep apnea, acid reflux can be one of the more noticeable. Many of our patients report acid reflux or GERD with sleep apnea, and how much it affects their lifestyle. Acid reflux can not only be annoying, but it can cause permanent damage to the oral cavity and digestive tracts. Constant reflux can even cause a recurring cough, throat irritation, and sinus congestion.
Acid reflux occurs when the upper airway closes off during an obstructive sleep apnea event. The closure of the airway and ensuing effort to breath cause a suction to be created in digestive tract. This suction pulls acid up into the back of the throat and sometimes as far as the nasal sinus. The acid causes irritation to the tissue linings. Some recurring sinus inflammation may even be the result of acid reflux. Could your sinus inflammation actually be caused by apnea induced acid reflux?
Acid reflux can also be caused by a myriad of other things, so it is adviseable to consult your physician. If your reflux is caused by obstructive apnea, you should see some resolution or mitigation during sleep apnea therapy. Opening of the airway with dental appliances will reduce the suction and keep the digestive acid in it’s proper place!