Reflux and Lung Disease Make an Appointment Ask a Question Search Conditions Many people with chronic lung disease also suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). In this condition, the muscle between the esophagus and stomach is weak and stomach contents and acid back up into the esophagus. This may or may not cause symptoms. Many people can experience heartburn, pain, sore throat, swallowing problems, chronic cough, choking sensation and aspiration. Excess weight and dietary habits can contribute to reflux. Here are a few recommendations to decrease the risk of reflux and heartburn: Weight loss. Excess pressure in the abdomen can cause stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. Avoid overeating. Choose several small meals rather than three large meals. Avoid eating for 2-3 hours prior to bending over or lying down. Avoid foods that aggravate reflux including fatty foods, citrus and tomato-containing products, chocolate, mint, spicy foods, carbonated beverages, caffeine, and alcohol. This information has been approved by Emily McCloud, MS, RD (June 2012).