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Have Asthma? You May also Have Reflux


This information has been reviewed and approved by Neil Toribara, MD and Serena Snow, FNP-BC (January 2023)

How to Break the Asthma-GERD Cycle

If you have asthma, you may also have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).


70% of all people with asthma also have GERD

GERD Symptoms

  • Eating
  • Heartburn
  • Burping
  • Sour Taste
  • Shortness of Breath

GERD causes stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus and may cause heartburn, burping or a sour taste in the mouth, or no symptoms.

Stomach contents can irritate the lining of the throat, airways and lungs.

GERD can make asthma symptoms worse.

Asthma and some asthma medications may aggravate GERD symptoms.

Treating GERD can improve asthma symptoms.


Asthma May be Related to GERD When:

  • Asthma symptoms follow a large meal
  • Asthma symptoms are worse during sleep
  • You are regularly hoarse
  • You cough frequently
  • Asthma does not respond to asthma medications
  • Your asthma is not well controlled


Tips for Managing Asthma and GERD


  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Limit citrus, tomato products, strong spices, caffeine, carbonated drinks, fatty foods, chocolate, mint, and alcohol.
  • Elevate the head of your bed 6-8 inches or use a wedge-shaped pillow.
  • Maintain a reasonable weight.
  • Relax and manage stress.
  • Take asthma medications consistently.
  • Control exposure to asthma triggers.


  • Eat two to three hours before bedtime.
  • Wear belts or clothes that are tight around the waist.
  • Smoke.

More Information on Asthma & Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


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