Patients who do not show typical reflux symptoms may suffer silent reflux, or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which causes stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus and back of the throat causing irritation to the vocal cords and lungs.
About Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
Some GERD patients do not have typical reflux symptoms, like heartburn. These patients are considered atypical or silent refluxers. When stomach juices reflux into the esophagus and into the back of the throat, irritation to the vocal cords and lungs can occur.
LPR symptoms include:
- Chronic Cough
- Frequent throat clearing
- Voice hoarseness
- Globus sensation (the feeling that there is something stuck in the throat)
- Shortness of breath
- Adult-onset asthma
Medical treatments that reduce stomach acid usually do not work as effectively for LPR symptoms, because even the smallest amount of acid can lead to symptoms. The diagnosis of LPR can be made with a pH study as well as upper endoscopy. Some patients with LPR may benefit from anti-reflux surgery.
Treating Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
Identifying the cause of your symptoms is crucial to developing a treatment plan. Our team of experts may conduct a series of tests including upper endoscopy, barium swallow, pH testing, and esophageal function testing. Once a diagnosis of LPR is made, a treatment plan will be made for you by one of our providers. Treatment plans may include lifestyle changes, medical management, or surgical intervention.
Care Team Approach
Digestive Health, a clinical partnership between Ascension Seton and UT Health Austin, takes a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines. Your care team will include gastroenterologists, surgical and non-surgical heartburn and esophageal disorders specialists, physician assistants, nurses, advanced practice providers, dietitians, social workers, and more, providing unparalleled care for patients every step of the way. We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to identify new therapies to improve treatment outcomes. We are committed to communicating and coordinating your care with your other healthcare providers to ensure that we are providing you with comprehensive, whole-person care.