A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Silent Reflux
I had a question the other day about silent reflux.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is similar to another condition — GERD — that results from the contents of the stomach backing up (reflux).
But the symptoms of LPR are often different than those of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
With laryngopharyngeal reflux, you may not have the classic symptoms of GERD, like a burning sensation in your lower chest (heartburn).
That’s why it can be difficult to diagnose and why it’s sometimes called silent reflux.
At either end of your esophagus is a ring of muscle (sphincter).
Normally, these sphincters keep the contents of your stomach where they belong — in your stomach.
But with laryngopharyngeal reflux, the sphincters don’t work right.
Stomach acid backs up into the back of your throat or voice box, or even into the back of your nasal airway.
It can cause inflammation in areas not protected from gastric acid exposure.
Silent reflux is common in infants because their sphincters are undeveloped, they have a shorter esophagus, and they lie down much of the time.
The cause in adults isn’t known.
Symptoms in infants and children may include:
>”Barking” or chronic cough
>Reactive airway disease (asthma)
>Noisy breathing or pauses in breathing (apnea)
>Trouble feeding, spitting up, or inhaling food
>Trouble gaining weight
With laryngopharyngeal reflux, adults may have heartburn or a bitter taste or burning sensation in the back of the throat.
But they’re less likely to have classic signs of GERD.
More often, symptoms in adults are vague and may be easily confused with other problems.
The most common symptoms include:
>Excessive throat clearing
>A “lump” in the throat that doesn’t go away with repeated swallowing
Other symptoms include:
>A sensation of postnasal drip or excess throat mucus
Stomach acid pooling in your throat and larynx can cause long-term irritation and damage.
Without treatment, it can be serious.
In infants and children, laryngopharyngeal reflux can cause:
>Narrowing of the area below the vocal cords
>Recurrent ear infections from problems with eustachian tube function
>Lasting buildup of middle ear fluid
In adults, silent reflux can scar your throat and voice box.
It can also increase risk for cancer in the area, affect your lungs, and may irritate conditions like asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis.
To deal with silent reflux it’s beneficial to:
*Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat too fast. This causes you to swallow too much air.
*Drink fluids after rather than during meals.
*Avoid late-night eating.
*Try to relax after meals.
*Avoid spicy foods.
*Stop smoking; smoking irritates the lining of your throat.
*Avoid alcoholic beverages.
*Avoid the foods and situations that seem to aggravate.
*Keep a food diary to help identify foods that aggravate.
*Eat small meals.
*Eat slowly, chew well and appreciate your food.
*Reduce or avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
*If stress is a trigger, reevaluating your lifestyle may help to reduce stress. Learn new methods for managing stress, like relaxation and biofeedback techniques.
*Exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
*Don’t lie down right after eating.
*Wait at least 3 hours after your last meal of the day before you go to bed.
*Raise the head of your bed so your head and chest are higher than your feet.
*Investigate “hidden” allergies, which often trigger or aggravate the condition. Common triggers are dairy, wheat, corn, eggs, gluten, and additives.
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily to hydrate and flush your system away from food.
*Eat lots of life-giving, enzyme and nutrient-rich, fresh, raw fruits and veggies daily (organic whenever possible).
*Eat some RAW vegetables with every meal.
*Consider a liver, gallbladder, and/or colon cleanse.
*Consider peppermint, anise, fennel, chamomile, and/or ginger teas.
*Try fresh pineapple or papaya because they are rich in digestive enzymes.
*Decrease or eliminate acid-forming foods and drinks (coffee, soda pop, dairy, red meat, sugar, processed foods, white flour products).