Understanding Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) and How to Treat It?

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux is a condition that causes much distress to its sufferers. It mostly occurs when a person has GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and, in short, causes acid reflux.
Here’s everything you need to know about LPR, including symptoms and how to combat it. For more in-depth information and support on living with Laryngopharyngeal Reflux and how to cure it, visit the site Refluxgate.

What is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux is when acid from the stomach rises up the esophagus and into the throat and causes the sufferer repeated discomfort and distress.

Who is affected by LPR?

LPR can happen to anyone, but it most often a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease – a digestive disorder that effects the lower esophageal sphincter and causes acid indigestion and heartburn. However, it is more common in people with certain lifestyle and dietary habits.

What are symptoms of LPR?

There are many symptoms most sufferers of LRP will experience, most notably heartburn and an upset stomach. However, it is predicted that only fifty percent of sufferers will experience symptoms at all.
Though, when symptoms are present, they include:

  • Bloating
  • The sensation of a lump in throat and mucous sticking to the throat
  • Chronic cough and the constant need to clear your throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness and swollen voice box

How is LPR diagnosed?

The discovery of a person suffering from Laryngopharyngeal Reflux usually arises from symptoms concerning irritation and swelling of the throat. Sometimes, tests are conducted to confirm the condition. These tests include looking at the esophagus and stomach through a scope, a swallowing study, and a pH test.

What are the causes LPR?

It is believed that being overweight and severely stressed can cause people to suffer from LPR, or can worsen the symptoms of people who already have the condition.

How to cure LPR

Luckily, there are many ways to combat LPR that involve altering simple lifestyle and dietary habits, instead of requiring medical care. However, in really extreme cases there is medication you can take that includes prokinetic and Baclofen agents that help to reduce the frequency of sphincter relaxations.

Though, it should be noted that these agents have troubling psychological and neurological side effects, so aren’t used widely. Surgery to tighten the LES is another option, but, again, isn’t common. Rather, most people will see great results by changing their lifestyle and diet.

What to avoid when you have LPR

There are a lot of things you should avoid if you suffer from LPR – from foods to clothing. Firstly, you should avoid eating spicy or acidic foods, as they will aggravate your condition and increase your likelihood of experiencing heartburn.

You should avoid mint and mint-flavored foods for the same reason. Another food to avoid is chocolate. You should also not drink alcohol if you are a sufferer of LPR, or drink beverages that contain caffeine (tea, coffee, soda).

Smoking is bad for LPR and GERD in general, and so is stress – learning to manage your stress levels is key for everyone, as it can have a negative effect on every aspect of your health and life, not just LPR.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing can also cause LPR, so it is ill-advised to wear anything restrictive or binding if you are prone.

You should also maintain a healthy weight, and not eat less than 2 hours before you go to bed, as the contents of your stomach will put weight on the LES when you lie down (and most people find nighttime reflux to be worse than daytime reflux). It is also recommended that, in general, smaller meals are better than large meals.

The worst-case scenario

In some cases, LPR cannot be effectively treated through lifestyle changes, medication or surgery. At this point, the sufferer may experience a chronic cough, ulcers, swelling of the throat, development or worsening of asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, and possibly cancer of the voice box.

Hopefully, with the right knowledge on Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, its causes and its symptoms, a sufferer won’t reach this stage.

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