When acid reflux hits you, it can definitely ruin your appetite. While the condition starts in the stomach, it can lead to two very distinct places, both of which carry their own problems. Those include GERD and LPR.
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease and is characterized by stomach content traveling from the stomach to your esophagus. This can create a stinging sensation in your throat due to the presence of stomach acid. Other symptoms may include heartburn, hoarseness of the voice, increased saliva or mucus in the throat, and an acidic taste.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR, is similar in that it involves the redirection of stomach contents. However, the distinction comes from where the contents end up, as they can go beyond the esophagus and enter the larynx, known as the voice box. They share some similar symptoms such as trouble swallowing and hoarse voice.
Beyond where the stomach contents go, these conditions differ in how they are determined. Heartburn is not always present in LPR, so it can often be dismissed as a similar condition like a cold or post nasal drip. LPR can bring unique symptoms like persistent throat clearing or coughing, sore throat, and excessive mucus. Perhaps the biggest contrast between the two is how LPR can lead to more severe complications for your larynx and surrounding body parts. Ear infections, vocal cord irritation, and increased probability of throat cancer are just a few of the many conditions that can arrive from LPR.
GERD and LPR can require lifestyle changes in order to treat the symptoms. Your diet, for example, would need to be moderated in size and level of acidity. Dr. Michael Sicard, a CEENTA otolaryngologist from our Matthews office, provides wise advice for adjusting how you eat. “Avoid eating several hours before bed is important as our lower esophageal sphincter weakens.” Alcohol and tobacco should be avoided if you have either of these conditions, and your sleeping position would need to be adjusted to be more upright to keep your head above your chest. Over-the-counter medications can reduce these conditions' frequencies, but more severe cases of the latter may require surgery like laparoscopy.
Acid reflux can come in many forms, and it’s important to get the guidance, consultation, and treatment you need for these conditions. At CEENTA, we have ENT specialists who are trained specifically to diagnose and treat GERD and LPR as well as provide lifestyle recommendations to curb their symptoms in the future. If you or a loved one are suffering from acid reflux, schedule your appointment with Dr. Sicard and our ENT doctors in Matthews today.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.
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