Tips for Managing Laryngopharyngeal Reflux and GERD Cough

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If you are experiencing throat clearing, hoarseness, or chronic cough, you might be susceptible to laryngopharyngeal reflux, also known as LPR. Although LPR is not dangerous, its symptoms can indicate or be a factor for developing worse diseases like cancer. That is why it is essential to know how to manage these symptoms. 

LPR is a condition in which acids and enzymes from your stomach make their way to your larynx or throat. Some of these enzymes are chemicals called pepsin which only the stomach can handle and the throat cannot. Some of the symptoms you might feel on reflux include chronic coughing and throat clearing. Fortunately, you can do things to deal with these symptoms, like avoiding beverages that are alcoholic, carbonated, or containing caffeine. 

Reflux alone is not a life-threatening disease, but it can lead to worse diseases like chronic sore throat, chronic cough, chronic hoarseness, or worse, cancer. That is why it is crucial to handle these symptoms as early as possible. Below are five tips for dealing with LPR.

Five Tips To Handle LPR Symptoms

1. Avoid All Your Triggers

As much as possible, it is advisable to stop consuming food that may trigger your reflux. Since human bodies are very different, the triggers can also vary. Common triggers include chocolates, fatty foods, spicy foods, citrus fruits, mint or peppermint, raw onions, and garlic. If you notice LPR symptoms occurring after eating a certain type of food, put it on your avoid list so you won’t aggravate your condition.

2. Don’t Eat 2 to 3 Hours Before Sleeping

Eating your dinner two to three hours before you sleep will not benefit your body. When you lie down soon after a meal, the force of gravity will work against keeping the food in your stomach. To deal with this type of problem, you can try putting blocks of wood under the head of your bed. It will help you sleep not in a supine position. Additionally, you can schedule your meals earlier in the evening.

3. Avoid Beverages That Can Aggravate Reflux

Some beverages can aggravate LPR symptoms, so it’s best to avoid them. The list includes beverages with caffeine like coffee and tea as these relax the upper and lower esophageal sphincters. Carbonated drinks like soft drinks expand the stomach and put pressure on the smooth muscle lower esophageal sphincter. And lastly, alcohol also relaxes the smooth muscles. 

4. Quit Cigarettes

Smoking is terrible for human health, but it is also one of the things you need to stop doing to get rid of reflux symptoms. Smoking worsens the reflux symptoms as it increases acid secretion by relaxing the smooth muscles responsible for keeping the acid in your stomach. So quitting cigarette smoking isn’t just for your lungs; it’s for your stomach and throat, too.

Final Thoughts

Reflux disease is not a life-threatening condition, but it has annoying and sometimes painful symptoms that affect your daily life. Also, if you leave it untreated, it could develop into much worse diseases. Doctors say that the best thing to treat LPR is to shift your diet and lifestyle instead of medication.

If you want to learn more about acid reflux, LPR, and GERD, explore the rest of Reflux Away. First, check out our resources on acid reflux and mustard or answer your questions like “Can probiotics help with acid reflux?” to learn more about controlling this type of health condition.