Also known as “silent reflux” because of how difficult it can be to diagnose, laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD) is similar to another acid reflux condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but differs symptomatically. In this case, the ring of muscles that line the esophagus and normally keep the contents of the stomach where they belong don’t work correctly, resulting in acid backed up into the throat. This can cause inflammation in areas that are not protected.
Silent reflux is common in infants, but it is unknown how many adults are afflicted by it. If you experience heartburn or a bitter taste/burning sensation in the back of the throat, try looking out for the following symptoms, which are also common:
- Excessive throat clearing
- Excessive coughing
- The sensation of a lump in the throat that doesn’t go away with swallowing
- Excess throat mucus
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Consistent sore throat
Long-term problems include potential scarring of the throat and voice box, and may further complicate conditions like asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. If you’ve been experiencing a combination of these symptoms, please see one of our Ear Nose & Throat specialists for a physical exam and testing, and let us help treat your unique condition.