What is Acid Reflux (GERD and LPR)
Acid reflux called gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD) is when acid “refluxes” from the stomach into the esophagus. It is called laryngopharyngeal acid (LPR) if stomach acid travels up into the esophagus, and then spills into the throat (called the Pharynx/Larynx).
Although LPR and GERD can sometimes occur in combination, some people may have symptoms that are not related to LPR or GERD. GERD and LPR can be treated by a doctor if symptoms are present twice a week.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux (GERD and LPR)
LPR is a condition in which patients do not experience the classic symptoms of heartburn that are associated with GERD. Sometimes, symptoms of GERD and LPR may be experienced by adult people like:
Acid Reflux in Adults
- Regurgitation is a sudden or sudden return to stomach contents
- Clearing your throat or frequent coughing
- Excessive mucus
- A bitter taste
- The sensation of burning or soreness in the throat
- Frequent feeling of a “lump” in your throat
- Changes in voice or hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Drainage of the nose from the back (post-nasal drip)
- Choking episodes (can awaken you from your sleep sometimes)
- If the voice box is affected, difficulty breathing
Acid Reflux in Children
- A cough, hoarseness, or noisy breathing can all be signs of breathing problems.
- Breathing pauses (apnea), or snoring while sleeping
- Spitting up (feeding difficulty)
- Turning blue (cyanosis)
- A life-threatening incident that causes arching of the back in distress
- Problems with growing or losing weight
Causes of Acid Reflux
LPR and GERD can be caused by lifestyle and physical factors. The lower portion of the esophagus, where it meets with the stomach, can be affected by weakening or abnormal muscles. This acts as a barrier to allow stomach contents to re-enter the esophagus. Other causes of reflux include hiatal hernia and abnormal esophageal spasms or slow stomach emptying is another. Reflux can also be caused by lifestyle choices and changes such as pregnancy. These include foods such as chocolate, citrus, fatty food, spicy foods, and habits like eating late, lying down right after eating/drinking, or alcohol/tobacco abuse.
Treatment Options May Include:
LPR and GERD are often suspected based on symptoms. Century ENT providers may conduct additional tests which can include an endoscopic examination (a tube with a camera inserted into the nose), biopsy, and special X-rays. This test checks for acidity and flow from the stomach into the esophagus. Esophageal motility testing (manometry), which measures muscle contractions when you swallow. Emptying of the stomach studies. Some of these tests are available in the office.
Lifestyle and dietary changes, medication, and occasionally surgery are all options for treatment. Antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, and foam barrier medication can all be prescribed. These medications should be taken for at least one month to be effective. They can be reduced later if symptoms improve. Some patients may not see results within two to three months after they begin taking the medication.Patients who aren’t responding to medical treatment should speak to their doctor about further medical interventions.