A few of the things we specialize in here at Plymouth Ear, Nose, and Throat are reflux, voice, and swallowing disorders. Most people are have heard of, or are familiar with, gastroesophageal reflux, or GER. GER occurs when the stomach contents come back up into the esophagus and cause heartburn. In fact, more than 60 million American adults suffer from heartburn at least once a month. The more long-lasting and and serious form is referred to as GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux is similar to gastroesophageal reflux disease but those suffering from LPR often do not experience heartburn. Therefore, LPR is often referred to as silent reflux.
The esophagus is the muscular tube that connects the throat with the stomach. At either end of the esophagus are muscles called sphincters that keep the contents of the stomach in the stomach. When those sphincters don’t function correctly, the acid in the stomach can back up into the throat, the voice box, and even into the back of your nasal passages.
Symptoms of LPR
Children and adults of all ages can suffer from laryngopharyngeal reflux. Though, the often absent symptom of heartburn can make it difficult to diagnose. Symptoms include:
- chronic cough
- feeling as though there is a lump in the throat
- difficulty swallowing
- sore throat
- constant feeling of having to clear the throat
- mild hoarseness
- burning sensation in the back of the throat
- difficulty breathing
LPR that goes undiagnosed and treated can cause ulcers, recurrent ear infections, and buildup of middle ear fluid.
Diagnosing of LPR
If you, or somebody you know, is suffering from these symptoms we suggest making an appointment with your doctor. An irritated or swollen throat may be the only clue that your doctor needs. If further confirmation is needed, a swallow study or a closer look at the stomach and esophagus may be suggested.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat at 508-746-8977!