If you didn’t know there is a thing called silent reflux, its medical name is called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux which is also shortened to LPR. Believe it or not it is estimated up to 20% of Americans are suffering from silent reflux and most of them don’t even realize!
Silent reflux basically is a form of acid reflux where the acid refluxes the whole way up the esophagus and enters the throat. It’s in the throat area where most of the issues arise though it is not exclusive to there. The reason why it is called silent reflux is because typically someone who has it won’t be suffering from the common acid reflux symptoms like heartburn for example. This is also why is can be difficult to diagnose at first and why I want help you understand it more. Below I will cover some of the main signs of someone who is being affected by silent reflux.
For a lot of people silent reflux will start slowly and minimally and often one of the early signs is a general hoarseness feeling. This is simply from the acid damage which will irritate the vocal chords and when you are talking you feel hoarse. For someone who has been feeling hoarse for some time with no clear root cause should be considering silent reflux because this could be the root cause of their problem.
#2 Burning Throat
As I said someone who has LPR will most likely have issues revolving around the throat and one of the most notable is a burning sensation in your throat. This is one of the more common issues for someone with LPR. As you might have guessed this is from the acid that has refluxed up and this causes inflammation which can leave you feeling this burning sensation in your throat, mouth etc.
One of the more common signs of LPR is a chronic cough. If you have this mystery cough that has been nagging you for at least a months’ time then it may be worth your time considering that it could be related to acid reflux damage. Of course, having a cough is because of the damage that the acid has done to the throat. This causes you to have the cough that persists because you are constantly being affected by the acid damage.
#4 Throat Clearing
Just like with the coughing someone who has the constant need to clear their throat may also be suffering from this. If you feel the need to constantly clear your throat this could be because of the acid damage. Sometimes how this happens is that the throat produces more mucus to help protect itself, and this gives you the need to clear your throat more often and swallow for example. Also, it can have the other effect of the throat being more irritated and drier and it’s the human reflex to try and clear the throat to help. But if you are doing this often especially with a dry throat this could further aggravate the throat and put you into a cycle it can be difficult to get out of.
#5 Breathing Issues
One of the symptoms believe it or not is related to breathing. The problem with this is that is can be difficult to diagnose even for some doctors and physicians. Often a doctor may go down the asthma type route and this won’t treat the root cause assuming of course it is silent reflux. As you might have imagined the acid can enter the airways – this can cause swelling and inflammation which makes the airways more restricted and can affect your breathing. An important thing to note about this is for someone who is having breathing issues related to acid reflux they will have trouble breathing in or inhaling whereas with someone who has asthma would have trouble breathing out or exhaling. This is an important distinction to know the root cause in this instance. Believe it or not a lot of new born babies may be treated from the likes of asthma when they should be in fact being treated for silent reflux – though of course in this case it is hard to diagnose but it definitely is something that needs to be considered more frequently.
As I mentioned before it is estimated as many as 20% of Americans suffer from silent reflux, though admittedly for a lot of them their symptoms will only be very minor and rare, though for others that have shown some of the symptoms I have mentioned it could be a more prominent issue that they should further consider.
On a final note it is worth mentioning that someone who is being affected by silent reflux will usually have more than 1 of the aforementioned symptoms, so the more you have the more likely that it is your root cause. If you think this is something that could be effecting you or you want more information on it check out this article on LPR Symptoms where things are covered in more detail.