Alcohol and acid reflux symptoms are connected

Originally written June 17, 2022

On the boat, at the beach, or in a pub, cocktail and beer enthusiasts are very particular about what type of alcohol they consume. As more breweries and distilleries are created, more options are becoming available for the average consumer. However, those with acid reflux might find themselves being even more specific about what they can enjoy. With that said, there are a few things to consider if you have acid reflux and want to enjoy your beverage.

In This Article...

  1. What is acid reflux?
  2. Does ABV play a role in acid reflux?
  3. What type of drinks are more likely to cause acid reflux?

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition where stomach acid flows up to the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, burping, and sore throat. This is usually associated with spicy food, dairy, and alcohol, but long-term acid reflux is known as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). 

Does ABV play a role in acid reflux?

Alcoholic beverages can play a role in acid reflux and GERD symptoms, but not every drink is the same. Given the varying levels of alcohol in each spirit, wine, or beer, your symptoms could be exacerbated by the alcohol by volume (ABV) level. For example, light beers and wines like Moscato with an ABV of around 5% may help curb acid reflux due to being light-bodied beverages, while stronger spirits like whiskey and Scotch could make your symptoms worse. 

Dr. Michael Sicard, a CEENTA otolaryngologist at our Matthews office, provides some advice for those who have acid reflux. "Avoid having a full stomach when lying down. It takes typically 3-4 hours to empty the stomach and reduce the volume of fluid to reflux past a relaxed GE sphincter."

What type of drinks are more likely to cause acid reflux?

Alcohol content isn’t the only factor to think about if you have acid reflux. Food and beverages with strong acidity can trigger your symptoms, so it would be best to avoid drinks like ciders, white wines, and citrus cocktails. These can be substituted for spirits like gin and tequila which have low acidity.

Flavors and ingredients can also impact your acid reflux. Peppermint, chocolate, and tomatoes are among some of the stronger culprits for alcohol-based acid reflux, as are spicy elements like chili powder and Tajín on the rim.

However, your biggest approach to curbing acid reflux from these drinks is to enjoy in moderation. Regardless of the alcohol level, acidity, or flavor, overconsumption of alcohol can demonstrably affect your acid reflux among other health-related symptoms.

If you’re someone who enjoys alcoholic beverages but hates the after effects of acid reflux, schedule an appointment with CEENTA. Our team of ENT specialists can examine your condition and recommend treatment options best suited for you. Make an appointment with Dr. Sicard at our Matthews location today.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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