Reflux Disease

Reflux occurs when the valve between the oesophagus and the stomach doesn’t function properly, allowing stomach acid to escape into the oesophagus. This may cause discomfort and heartburn.

Most reflux patients are well treated by medication. Many patients choose not to continue with long term drug treatment in light of the possible link between long term use, osteoporosis, gastric cancer and increased fracture rates.

Other patients however develop breakthrough symptoms despite maximal medical therapy.


  • Heartburn
  • Stomach fluid regurgitation (without necessarily vomiting)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Pulmonary inhalation
  • Nocturnal sleep disturbance
  • Occasional choking food jamming with swallowing
  • Voice trouble

Any change in heartburn or food sticking on swallowing, or pain on swallowing should be investigated quickly.

For more information see:


Reflux Medicine Failure

Often as the medication ‘wears out’ patients need to increase their doses, which often incompletely help. Reflux of vomit can occur at night.

A chest ache can often occur, raising heart concerns. Typically, the chest ache will occur at the same time as heartburn previously happened.

Heartburn and regurgitation may persist or pain on swallowing or food sticking may occur. It is important to quickly check these two problems as alternatively the cause may be cancer.

Reflux Related Cough and the Throat

Airway problems can occur with reflux disease.


  • Cough
  • Weak voice
  • Throat soreness
  • Throat clearing
  • Occasional inhalation of stomach contents (aspiration) particularly at night or when lying down

This condition often responds poorly to medication, even in high doses. It is frequently caused by things other than reflux [such as bile, gas or only mild amounts of acid]. More frequently double dose medication and occasionally surgery may be of benefit.

Surgery is strongly indicated if there is a history of aspiration and choking as it may cause pneumonia and lung disease.

For information see:

Alarm symptoms: food sticking, weight loss, anaemia, pain when swallowing.


Reflux and Singers

Singers have a special problem due to the pressure placed on the diaphragm during singing. Reflux can occur just by straining. It can cause the voice to be damaged.

Reflux and the Lung

Increasing shortness of breath and chest infections are being seen with small amounts of reflux contaminating the lung. This can be very hard to diagnose and requires extensive testing.



    1. Hi Sid! No you don’t need to have private health cover – we operate on public patients at Concord Hospital. You’re welcome to call us on 9745 1099 to discuss further :). Thank you!


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