Shushing the Silent Reflux: Effective Management of LPR

Acid reflux is a common ailment experienced by many, with symptoms like heartburn and indigestion. However, there's a related condition that may not be as well known – Laryngopharyngeal Reflux or LPR.

What is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)?

LPR is a condition that shares similarities with acid reflux. It occurs when the esophageal sphincter doesn't close properly, allowing stomach acids to ascend into the esophagus and even higher into the throat, resulting in irritation. LPR is also referred to as ‘silent reflux.' The symptoms of LPR are not identical to those of acid reflux, which can make it difficult to diagnose.

Despite its ‘silent' moniker, LPR can lead to frequent throat clearing and coughing. If it feels like something is lodged in your throat, you may feel the urge to clear your throat or cough to expel the mucus or phlegm.

Causes of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

LPR and acid reflux (or GERD) share common causes. Your diet, lifestyle, and weight can all contribute to the development of LPR. Consuming highly acidic foods and drinks can worsen the condition.

Excess abdominal fat can exacerbate LPR symptoms. The additional pressure on your stomach can force stomach acids upwards, which is not desirable.

LPR Symptoms

LPR symptoms can mimic those of acid reflux or a common cold. Here are some typical symptoms:

  • A sour or acidic taste in your mouth or throat.
  • Irritating throat due to mucus or phlegm.
  • Frequent throat clearing due to mucus.
  • Coughing, which could be dry or productive.
  • Feeling of a post-nasal drip in the back of the throat.

Managing LPR

Do not attempt to self-diagnose. It's crucial to seek professional medical advice and diagnosis. You could be dealing with GERD, acid reflux, LPR, or a sinus issue that causes consistent post-nasal drip.

Once diagnosed with LPR, there are proactive measures you can take:

  • Avoid highly acidic food and drinks and opt for more alkaline or low acid options.
  • Drink plenty of water and steer clear of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
  • Modify your meal sizes and eating schedule.
  • Lose weight, particularly around your abdomen, and wear comfortable, loose clothing.

By adopting these steps, you can alleviate your LPR symptoms, making the ‘silent reflux' truly silent due to its absence!

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