What is LPR Reflux and GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), commonly known as acid reflux, are acute or chronic conditions associated with frequent heartburn, cough, throat clearing, dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, dyspnea or difficulty breathing, choking and/or hoarseness. GERD occurs when acidic content from the stomach regurgitates, or refluxes, into the esophagus, larynx or trachea causing inflammation or damage to these structures.
Some patients with GERD may also experience LPR, which occurs as acid from the stomach rises to the esophagus and enters the back of the throat. Patients suffering from LPR often report a bitter taste in their mouth, hoarseness and the feeling that mucus or phlegm is caught in the back of their throat. In some cases, LPR can cause breathing difficulties. LPR may also be a contributing factor in the development of laryngeal cancer.
What Causes GERD or LPR?
The cause of GERD is unknown, but doctors believe it is the result of multiple factors. Some contributing factors include abnormal movement in the lower esophageal sphincter, a hiatal hernia, poor eating habits, and/or a poor diet.
GERD and LPR Symptoms
Common symptoms of GERD are:
- Difficulty Swallowing
Common symptoms of LPR are:
- Excessive throat clearing
- Feeling of a lump in the throat
GERD and LPR Reflux Treatment
Most cases of GERD can be controlled by lifestyle changes and over the counter medication. In fact, this is probably what your doctor will suggest that you start with. If these are not effective after a few weeks then your doctor may suggest prescriptions or surgery.
Medications for GERD
- Acid production reduction medications
- Acid production and esophageal healing medications
- Prescription strength H-2 receptor blockers
- Prescription strength proton pump inhibitors
- Medication to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter
Surgery for GERD
If medication does successfully treat your GERD then your doctor may suggest surgery. Some surgeries include:
- Linx device
- Transoral incisionless fundoplication(TIF)
Like GERD, medicine can help to treat LPR and most of the medicine that will help GERD will also help LPR. Although medicine will help, a lifestyle change can be a longer lasting solution. Lifestyle changes include:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Stop eating three hours before bed
- Restrict certain foods
Adjusting to an LPR Diet: What Should I Avoid?
Avoiding certain foods can help to reduce your LPR symptoms. Some of the foods you should avoid are:
- Coffee, alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, and peppermints can cause the esophageal sphincter to weaken resulting in worsening symptoms.
- Citrus fruits, acidic foods, and spicy foods can all irritate the esophagus. This can lead to inflammation and worsening symptoms.3
- Carbonated beverages like soda or beer can cause more acid in the throat.3
GERD and LPR can often be treated through lifestyle changes and medication. Surgery may be required for more severe cases. Dr. Lee can determine the most effective GERD and LPR treatment option for your LPR or GERD symptoms at our office. Find a treatment for LPR or GERD Today!