Throat reflux, also known as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LFR), is the name given to a medical problem caused by stomach contents. Throat reflux symptoms often differ from typical symptoms of stomach reflux disease called gastroesophageal reflux. In throat reflux, you may not have classic reflux symptoms such as heartburn. For this reason, it can be difficult to diagnose and is sometimes called silent reflux because of this feature.
Throat reflux is when the acid produced in the stomach travels up the esophagus and reaches the throat. Symptoms include sore throat and irritated larynx (voice box). Treatments mostly consist of lifestyle changes.
Who Can Have Throat Reflux?
Anyone can have throat reflux, but this disease is more common with age. People who are more likely to have throat reflux include:
• Those who have bad eating habits,
• Those who constantly wear tight clothing,
• Those who are overweight,
• -Those who are extremely stressed.
What are the causes of throat reflux?
There is a ring of muscle at both ends of your esophagus. Normally, these muscle rings keep the contents of your stomach where they belong, in your stomach. But if you have throat reflux, these muscle rings do not work properly. Stomach acid returns to the back of your throat, throat, and even the back of your nasal airway. It causes inflammation in areas that are not protected from exposure to stomach acid.
Throat reflux, also called silent reflux, is common in babies. Because babies have not developed muscle rings, the esophagus is shorter, and babies are often lying down. The cause in adults is not fully known.
What are the symptoms of throat reflux?
• Chronic cough
• Reactive airway disease, (asthma)
• Noisy breathing or breathing pauses (apnea)
• Trouble feeding, spitting or breathing
• Trouble gaining weight
Adults with throat reflux may have a sour sensation, a bitter taste, or a burning sensation in the back of the throat. But more often, adults have no symptoms and can be easily confused with other problems. The most common symptoms are as follows:
• Excessive throat clearing,
• Persistent cough
• A recurring “lump” in the throat that does not pass with swallowing,
Less common symptoms are:
• Nasal discharge or excessive throat mucus sensation,
• Swallowing problem
• Difficulty breathing
• Throat ache,
What are the complications of throat reflux?
• Narrowing of the area under the vocal cords,
• Recurrent ear infections caused by problems with eustachian tube function,
• Persistent accumulation of middle ear fluid.
How is throat reflux diagnosed?
Diagnosis and treatment of throat reflux; This includes preventing symptoms and preventing damage to the esophagus, throat, lungs, and larynx. Diagnosis is usually very painless and easy. Although diagnosing throat reflux is more difficult than diagnosing stomach reflux, your doctor can diagnose it through a combination of medical history, physical exam, and one or more tests. Diagnostic methods are endoscopy and pH monitoring. With an endoscopic examination, your doctor will view your throat and vocal cords. With pH monitoring, which involves inserting a small catheter through the nose into the throat and esophagus, acid-sensing sensors and a small waist-mounted computer record your findings over a 24-hour period.
What is the Treatment for Throat Reflux?
• Feeding your baby with smaller bites and more often,
• Keeping your baby in an upright position for at least 30 minutes after feeding,
• Using medicines called H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors according to your pediatrician’s instructions,
• To undergo surgery if there is no response to treatment by other means,
Treatment of throat reflux for adults is as follows:
Medications often significantly reduce the symptoms of throat reflux. A class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors are typically the most effective. They work by reducing the amount of acid the stomach produces.
Drugs that reduce stomach acid, called antacids and histamine antagonists, can also be used in the treatment of throat reflux. For people with throat reflux, drugs that increase stomach and bowel movements and contractions may also be recommended.
• If necessary, lose weight,
• If you smoke, stop smoking,Stay away from alcohol,
• Consume limited chocolate, mint sugar, oil, citrus fruits, sodas, spicy or tomato-based products, red wine and caffeine,
• Stop eating about three hours before bedtime.
• Raise the head of your bed a little,
• Avoid wearing clothes that narrow around your waist,
• Try chewing gum to increase your saliva and neutralize acid.
Some people respond well to self-care and medical treatment. However, some need more serious and prolonged treatment. If that isn’t effective either, or if symptoms recur, your doctor may recommend surgery.
There is a type of surgery called fundoplication, which involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophagus to create a stronger valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Usually, it is done through small surgical incisions and using small surgical equipment and a laparoscope to help the surgeon see inside. Fundoplication can also be performed as traditional open surgery with a larger incision.
Other techniques can be done laparoscopically; The cap is reinforced by placing a ring of titanium beads on the outside of the lower esophagus.
What happens if throat reflux is not treated?
• Throat ache,
• Chronic cough
• Swelling of the vocal folds,
• Ulcers (open wounds) in the vocal folds,
• Masses in the throat,
• Worsening of asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.
• Development of laryngeal cancer in untreated throat reflux.
How should people with throat reflux be fed?
In addition to using medication, a diet low in acid will help to aid throat reflux. Studies have shown that this type of diet can often reduce symptoms of throat reflux.
Examples of low-acid foods include melon, green leafy vegetables, celery, and bananas. Foods that people with throat reflux should avoid include spicy, fried and fatty foods; citrus; tomato; chocolate; mint; cheese; and garlic. Caffeine, sodas, and foods containing alcohol can also worsen symptoms.
For people with throat reflux, the biggest meal of the day is lunch or morning meal instead of evening. It is also important not to rush between meals. For this reason, you should take care to eat slowly without getting distracted.