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.
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. Heartburn, nausea, and difficulty swallowing are common symptoms of GERD.
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.
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 treatment option for your LPR or GERD symptoms at our office.