Discover the hidden troublemaker of your throat health – Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR), often referred to as silent reflux. This blog dives deep into LPR, where stomach acid takes an unwelcome trip up to your throat and voice box, causing irritation and inflammation. Unlike its cousin, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), LPR plays a sneakier game, targeting the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and your larynx. Uncover the telltale signs, causes, and the array of treatment choices awaiting your exploration in this comprehensive post.
Symptoms of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
The symptoms of LPR can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Hoarseness or Loss of Voice: LPR can cause inflammation and irritation in the throat and voice box, leading to hoarseness or loss of voice.
- Chronic Cough: A persistent cough, especially after eating or lying down, may be a sign of LPR.
- Throat Clearing: People with LPR may feel the need to clear their throat frequently due to irritation and inflammation in the throat.
- Difficulty Swallowing: LPR can cause difficulty swallowing or a feeling of a lump in the throat (globus sensation).
- Sore Throat: LPR can cause a sore throat that does not respond to traditional treatments, such as antibiotics.
- Post-Nasal Drip: LPR can cause excess mucus production, leading to post-nasal drip and a sensation of mucus in the back of the throat.
- Regurgitation: Acid refluxed into the throat can cause a bitter or sour taste in the mouth.
Causes of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
The causes of LPR are similar to those of acid reflux, which occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus doesn’t close properly. This allows stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus and throat. Some of the factors that can contribute to LPR include:
- Hiatal Hernia: A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity, which can weaken the LES and increase the risk of acid reflux.
- Poor diet: Consuming large amounts of acidic, fatty, or spicy foods can increase the risk of LPR including acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and coffee.
- Overeating: Eating too much food can put pressure on the stomach, causing acid reflux.
- Alcohol and caffeine: These substances can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, making it easier for stomach acid to flow back up into the throat.
- Smoking: Smoking weakens the muscles in the throat and esophagus, increasing the risk of LPR.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put pressure on the stomach, leading to acid reflux and LPR.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and increased pressure on the stomach during pregnancy can cause LPR.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antihistamines and some blood pressure medications, can contribute to LPR by relaxing the muscles that control the valve between the stomach and the esophagus.
Treatment Options for Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
The treatment options for LPR are similar to those for GERD, and may include:
- Lifestyle Changes: Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding trigger foods, losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption, can help reduce LPR symptoms.
- Medications: Over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers, can help reduce the amount of acid in the stomach and relieve LPR symptoms.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to strengthen the UES and prevent acid reflux.
- Vocal Therapy: LPR can cause damage to the vocal cords, so vocal therapy may be necessary to help restore voice quality.
- Sleep Apnea Treatment: If sleep apnea is contributing to LPR symptoms, treating sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or other sleep apnea treatments may help reduce LPR symptoms.
- Alternative Therapies: Some alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and herbal remedies, may help reduce the symptoms of LPR, although more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness.
Don’t let LPR continue its silent disruption of your life. Take the first step towards relief. Read our comprehensive guide on Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, and if you’re experiencing LPR symptoms, reach out to our team at Enticare. Call us at 480-214-9000 to regain control of your throat health today.