In the middle of the night, something is bothering your throat. It’s a cold minty sensation-feels like you just brushed your teeth with mint-flavored toothpaste.
Right now, one out of five American adults has the same feeling as you. So one thing is obvious the reasons are pretty common.
Yes, they are. Acid reflux or GERD is the first and foremost reason behind this cold sensation in the throat.
Other variations of acid refluxes like Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR), Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI), and anxiety are some of the other culprits behind this cold but not-so-cool sensation in the throat.
I will share some more details about the reasons and remedies for this acid reflux cold feeling in throat in this article. Stay with me till the end!
Table of Content
How the Cold Sensation In Throat Feels Like
Around 60% of all people with LPR do not suffer from classic signs of Acid Reflux commonly seen in patients with GERD, such as heartburn. Rather they suffer from a minty sensation in the mouth.
So it’s essential to know what that coldness in the throat feels like. Cold breeze over an open wound-that explains the cold sensation best.
Because of the acid reflux, the soft esophagus lining gets damaged, and the sensitive underlayer is exposed. Each time you eat, drink, or even breathe, you either get a chilling sensation or scratching irritations.
4 Causes of Cold Sensation in Throat
You already know the four culprits of the cool feel on the back of your throat. They are:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)
- Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI)
Let’s take a detailed look at each reason and the remedies you can take to mitigate them.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is the most common culprit when it comes to cold sensations in the throat.
It occurs when the stomach acids travel up to the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter prevents stomach content from traveling up.
However, in the case of GERD, the sphincter doesn’t work, and acid travels up to the esophagus.
The inner layer of the esophagus can’t tolerate the acid and gets damaged.
How does GERD cause a cold feeling in the throat?
When you breathe in air, the air touches the damaged inner layer of the back of the throat.
Normally, the layer was supposed to be intact. Since it gets damaged by the acid, the underlying nerves have less of a covering.
The nerves get overstimulated due to the air. And that is the reason why you feel the menthol sensation in the throat while breathing in.
Now you may wonder, how does this relate to the cold sensation at the back of your throat?
The acid may come up to even the back of the throat. This acid causes damage to the inner layer of the esophagus.
Symptoms of GERD
So, how will you know if you have GERD? Cold sensation in throat is indirect, but there are other direct symptoms.
Below are some of those symptoms you may have along with an old sensation in the throat:
- The intense pain of heartburn in the chest and a burning sensation in the throat.
- Acid regurgitation or acidic taste in your mouth
- Pain in the chest or back of the throat while swallowing
- Nauseating feeling and vomiting
- A sensation of a lump at the back of the throat
- Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
Thus, if you have one or more of these accompanying symptoms along with the cold sensation, it is likely that you’re suffering from GERD.
What to do if you have GERD?
If you think you have GERD, it’s best to see the doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms and prescribe you proper medicines to control the conditions.
GERD is generally treated with proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole, esomeprazole, and pantoprazole.
However, you can also use older histamine receptor blockers like ranitidine, cimetidine, etc.
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease (LPR)
This disease is another cause of your cold sensation in the throat. Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPR) is also known as silent reflux disease. It affects around 10% of the US population.
The mechanism of laryngopharyngeal reflux disease is quite similar to GERD.
However, in the case of LPR, the stomach contents come up to the larynx and pharynx (your throat).
So, the main damaged area is around the throat rather than the chest.
Symptoms of LPR
So, what symptoms will you have if you suffer from LPR? Some of them are given below:
- Hoarseness of voice
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Sore throat
- A feeling of mucus in the throat
- Cold sensation in throat and nose
These may sound similar to GERD. However, there is a key difference.
There are no heartburn or chest pain symptoms in LPR.
The reason is that the acidic contents don’t stay in the esophagus for too long. So the esophageal tissue isn’t damaged.
The acid contents mainly affect the larynx and the pharynx. Due to the absence of pain, this disease remains largely undiagnosed.
So, if you’re not having chest pain but suffer from the symptoms above, along with a cold sensation in the throat, you probably have LPR.
Treatment of LPR
Treatment of this disease is similar to GERD. You should see a doctor. They can prescribe proton pump inhibitors or histamine receptor blockers.
Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI)
We’ve all been affected by the common cold at some point. Common cold and other respiratory tract infections, too, can cause a cold sensation in the throat.
Bacteria, viruses, and microbes can cause Respiratory Tract Infections (RTI). A thick layer of mucus builds up in the throat due to infection.
This can give a funny feeling in the back of the throat. This is known as a postnasal drip.
Symptoms of RTI
Now the ones mentioned above aren’t the only symptoms of this disease. RTIs also have other accompanying symptoms like:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Treatment of RTI
If you have these symptoms, visiting your primary care physician is best. They can give you medications to treat the symptoms. If necessary, they may also provide you with antibiotics.
Anxiety can also be the reason you have a cold sensation in your throat. Different psychological imbalances can cause an abnormal feeling of coldness in your throat.
If you have anxiety, you’ll likely be more sensitive and aware than normal.
Hence, while breathing, when the air hits the back of your throat, you may perceive it as ‘too cold.’ Thus, this can cause a cold sensation in throat when inhaling.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s all in your head. Anxiety can alter some of the body’s normal physiology.
The nerves in your throat may be excited more than usual due to anxiety. This causes a cold sensation.
Anxiety and psychological stress can cause acid secretion. This is another way by which a cold sensation occurs. The stomach produces more acid in these stressful conditions causing GERD or LERD.
How to Get Rid of The Cold Sensation in Throat
If you have an abnormal sensation in your throat with pain or other symptoms, you should get it checked out. Doctors can prescribe proper medication if you’re suffering from a disease.
Below are some things you can do on your own to relieve these symptoms:
Changing Your Diet
Putting changes in your diet can help to prevent this cold sensation. Since it’s mostly caused by GERD, many home remedies, for example:
- Try using fewer spices in your food.
- Try avoiding carbonated beverages as much as possible.
- Don’t lie down immediately after a meal. Rather give yourself an hour or two before sleeping.
- Eat more frequently but in fewer amounts. Decreasing the time interval between foods is crucial to stop acid hypersecretion. This can also be a good home remedy for the burning sensation in the throat.
- Cut down on your daily caffeine consumption.
- Eat healthier meals, like vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, etc.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid alcohol as much as you can.
Thus, changing your diet like this can reduce the cold sensation in your throat.
Some lifestyle changes may be enough to cure you of this cold sensation in throat. Some of them are:
- Stop smoking
- Use more pillows if you have heartburn.
- Exercise every day. Exercise can not only help with your immunity; it can also be helpful in case of anxiety.
- Improve your sleeping habits. Ensure seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and don’t stay late.
- Try wearing loose-fitting clothing more often.
Implementing these changes can help you get rid of this cold feeling.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
As we’ve already seen, a cold sensation in the throat also has psychological components. So, it’s necessary to tend to your mental health if you want to be rid of it.
You have to reduce stress in your life as much as possible. Stress is related to many abnormalities and can even cause real physiological symptoms.
You should also try to avoid having negative thoughts and emotions. These can hamper the normal physiology of the body.
Even if you feel absolutely fine mentally, it’s always a good idea to see a psychologist now and then.
Specific Treatment And Supplements
A cold feeling in the throat may also accompany other symptoms. Your doctor can provide adequate symptomatic treatment, depending on what you have.
Since acid reflux is a primary cause of this cold feeling, you may try remedies that help. Probiotic therapy helps in this case.
Probiotics are natural bacteria that restore the normal gut balance. Thus, they can boost digestion and thus reduce acid reflux. So, you can check this review on probiotic supplements and try them.
The steps mentioned above are supplementary to actual treatment. You should get yourself checked out as soon as possible. However, the changes we’ve discussed can help reduce this cold feeling.
Cold sensation in throat and COVID?
During this pandemic, it’s natural to be scared of any changes in your throat. You may wonder if this cold feeling is related to COVID.
But let me assure you, if you don’t have any of the symptoms below, it’s unlikely that COVID is the cause. The most common symptoms of COVID are:
- Nasal congestion
- Generalized pain
Why do I feel a weird sensation in my throat?
A weird cold sensation in the throat can be due to GERD, LERD, anxiety, respiratory tract infection, etc. The most likely cause among these is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It affects roughly 10-20% of the people in developed countries.
Can anxiety cause throat problems?
Yes, anxiety can cause a cold sensation, even a burning feeling in the throat. Anxiety stimulates the release of chemicals in the digestive tract responsible for this.
What is cold reflux?
Cold reflux is the other name for laryngopharyngeal reflux disease. Here, the acid in your stomach backs up to the throat, causing the disease.
To sum it all up, a cold sensation in the throat can be caused by several factors. However, it is nothing to be scared of. You can get rid of it for good with proper treatment and lifestyle changes!
Now, if none of these fix your throat or your serious symptoms, it’s best to go to a physician. Or for any queries, comment down below.