When left untreated, laryngopharyngeal (LPR) or “silent” reflux can cause damage to your throat, esophagus, or voice box.

There are two sphincter muscles in your esophagus that close the esophagus at its upper and lower portions.

If both the upper and lower esophageal sphincters don't function properly, the acid backflows into the esophagus, penetrating the throat and voice box; this is called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux or LPR.

When only the lower esophageal sphincter is not functioning properly, there is back flow of stomach acid into the esophagus, called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD.

Despite the presence of stomach acid, it is possible to suffer from LPR with out experiencing any heartburn or GERD symptoms.

Symptoms of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

  • Continual throat clearing
  • Chronic throat irritation or sore throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Hoarseness / Dysphonia
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • A sensation of something in the throat
  • Regurgitation
  • Difficulty breathing/Wheezing
  • Heartburn

Diagnosis of LPR

To diagnose LPR, your ENT specialist will conduct a thorough medical history, evaluate symptoms, and perform a complete physical examination.

Sometimes, additional tests are needed, such as:

Treatment Options for LPR

Treatment protocols for both LPR and GERD are the same.

  • Lifestyle Changes
    • No eating 2 hours before bedtime
    • Elevating the head of the bed
    • Drinking more water
  • Diet modifications
    • Avoiding caffeine, high-fat foods, alcohol, milk products, and mint
  • Medications
    • Proton Pump Inhibitors, Histamine Receptor Antagonists, and over-the-counter remedies
  • Surgery
    • To tighten the junction between the stomach and esophagus.