Our Guide to Understanding Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) Disease

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A case of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) disease has been dubbed by many physicians and medical experts as a modern medicinal marvel, but not in the right way.

As opposed to a standard case of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), bouts of LPR possess a different approach when it comes to symptoms. In most cases of this disease, various symptoms occur in the head and neck regions instead of the standard heartburn and stomach pain that come with GERD. This has caused many doctors to overlook it to a certain extent. 

This common tendency to be overlooked by practising physicians has become so common that it has been dubbed as “silent reflux” for its less-than-obvious experience with reflux. 

Beyond being a “silent” condition, however, the bigger problem that comes with handling this condition is that people don’t know much about it, essentially putting many at risk of experiencing greater complications. If you or a loved one suspect that LPR is at play but don’t know enough about it, here’s a quick guide on everything you need to know in further detail:

Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease explained

LPR is best defined as a condition that is characterized by the sensation of having stomach content travel up the gullet and into the back of the throat and nose. In some rare cases, it can even go up into the airways. This condition can be quite alarming for most people because of the pain that comes about since the regurgitated contents are acidic and may inflame and irritate affected areas. 

After some time, this condition can lead to a snowball of negative effects as the amount of exposure the throat has over gastric contents increases and misleads diagnoses. Many physicians end up misdiagnosing cases of LPR because the misdirection of gastric content to the back of the nose, throat, and airways leads to more painful experiences that are confused with other conditions.

At the end of the day, however, it’s important to note that LPR and GERD are the same in terms of functioning. The distinction of the former being a different variant as it doesn’t paint the same classical symptoms one may recognize right off the bat.

Symptoms to watch out for

Generally, the symptoms that can be used to diagnose LPR in its early stages occur individually or in combination with one another. Here are a few distinguishable side-effects that come with silent reflux:

Hoarseness in the voice: One of the most noteworthy symptoms of silent reflux is the presence of a hoarse throat. This symptom is caused by an excessive amount of gastric content exposure which results in inflamed vocal cords, leading to a husky or hoarse voice.

An irritating cough: Cases of LPR can be easily spotted when irritating coughs are experienced alongside hoarseness in the voice. Just like the condition mentioned above, this symptom is also linked to an inflammation in the voice box.

A painful, lumpy, and mucus-packed throat: When irritation via stomach acidity occurs with a case of LPR, it is almost always guaranteed to result in a variety of throat-related problems that are bound to come along the way. Before other symptoms, however, these key conditions in the throat are bound to make themselves known because they correspond to the parts which are directly exposed to gastric content upon regurgitation!

Conclusion

Although it may not seem like much at first, dealing with a case of laryngopharyngeal reflux disease is one that requires exercising absolute care because of the different implications that negligence can bring. By taking this guide into mind, you won’t have to risk anything and effectively make sure that you prevent complications from arising when a physician gets everything checked out!

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