Laryngopharyngeal (Silent) Reflux Treatment in Fort Myers, FL
What Is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?
Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a condition in which stomach acid reenters the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), and nasal airway. Often referred to as "silent reflux," LPR lacks the hallmark symptom of related acid reflux conditions: heartburn; however, LPR symptoms do cause a wide variety of other symptoms which threaten the health of your throat, voice box, and respiratory system.
LPR, while not as prevalent as its close counterpart gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can affect anyone at any age. Treatment for LPR is important to prevent damage and may include medication, lifestyle changes, or surgery (in severe cases). To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Fort Myers who specializes in silent reflux treatment, call (239) 425-2900 or contact Dr. Doreen DeStefano online.
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Causes
The causes of laryngopharyngeal reflux are due to the dysfunction of the esophageal sphincters. These structures function much like a flap, preventing the contents of the stomach from reentering the esophagus. However, the upper esophageal sphincter can sometimes not work correctly. This might be because the sphincter muscle is weak or because a sphincter becomes relaxed too often. Additionally, a hiatal hernia might be to blame, as this condition pushes the stomach up past the diaphragm and weakens the sphincter.
Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing LPR and include:
- Dietary choices
- Alcohol or tobacco use
- Wearing tight clothing around the midsection
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Symptoms
Up to 50 percent of people with LPR experience no symptoms. For those who do experience laryngopharyngeal reflux symptoms, discomfort is generally isolated to the throat area. These common symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Feeling of lump in the throat
- Irritation in the voice box or larynx
- Difficulty swallowing
- Excess throat mucus which causes throat clearing
- Post-nasal drip
Adults and children have very similar silent reflux symptoms, but children tend to also experience eating-related symptoms such as spitting up, gaining weight, and inhaling food, as well as breathing trouble such as asthma or apnea.
Tests for Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
To diagnose LPR, your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough physical examination, reviewing your symptoms and medical history. Your practitioner may suggest one or more diagnostic tests to evaluate the health of your esophagus, stomach or throat and to help select the best treatment course. The most common tests for laryngopharyngeal reflux disease include:
- Endoscopy: Your healthcare practitioner will put a viewing device called a Flexible Fiberoptic Laryngoscope down your throat to view your vocal cords for signs of inflammation and redness.
- 24-Hour pH monitoring: Similar to an endoscopic exam, a tube is inserted through the nose into the esophagus. The device will be connected to a small computer which will monitor and measure the amount of acid reflux that enters the esophagus and throat.
- Barium swallow study: In this test, you will swallow a special metal called barium, which will cover your throat, esophagus, and stomach and allow your practitioner to see the organs much more clearly. Your healthcare practitioner will then take an X-ray.
Treating Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease
There are many different ways to treat LPR depending on your unique needs. These treatments involve medication, diet, lifestyle habits and, if all else fails, surgery.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux medication, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2 blockers, are designed to reduce the amount of gastric acid in your stomach. Certain medication can also be taken to target and treat the specific symptoms of LPR. Individuals with LPR typically require larger doses of medication than those with GERD before seeing improvement in LPR symptoms.
Lifestyle habits are a key part of your LPR treatment, with a particular emphasis placed on your diet. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or several of the following lifestyle changes:
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
- Reducing consumption of carbonated drinks and acidic foods
- Eliminating foods like chocolate, mints, and tomato-based foods from the diet
- Eating smaller portioned meals
- Avoiding food and drink at least 3 hours before going to bed
- Elevating your head with a pillow or bed wedge while laying down
- Wearing looser clothing around the midsection
- Avoiding throat clearing unless necessary
- Losing weight (if overweight)
In severe cases, medication and lifestyle changes may fail to provide relief from LPR symptoms. In these cases, a fundoplication can be done to restore function to the esophageal valve.
Although LPR can cause uncomfortable and potentially damaging symptoms, you can control the condition with effective treatment options. To meet with a healthcare practitioner who can help treat your laryngopharyngeal reflux disease, call (239) 425-2900 or contact Dr. Doreen DeStefano online.
Root Causes Holistic Health & Medicine
Address12734 Kenwood Lane
Fort Myers, FL 33907
10:00AM - 05:00PM
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