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GERD and LPR

What is GERD?

When the contents of your stomach push back up into your esophagus, this condition is known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is located near the bottom of the esophagus, in the form of a ring of muscle. Its job is to prevent reflux of the acids from the stomach. In GERD patients, the LES does not close properly letting the sensitive tissue lining in the esophagus to come in contact with acid leading to heartburn and discomfort.

If you or your loved one are experiencing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!

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What is LPR?

If the acidic contents of the stomach and upper digestive tract reflux beyond the upper esophageal sphincter and reach into the back of throat and nasal airway, the condition is referred to as Laryngopharyngeal Reflux or LPR. Some patients may have difficulty breathing or swallowing, however, heartburn is not usually experienced. Because of this, LPR can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and is called “silent reflux”.

The Symptoms of LPR and GERD

In many instances, GERD and LPR occur together. However, it is possible for you to have only one condition at a time. Following are some of the most common symptoms of GERD:

Some common symptoms of LPR in adults are as follows:

  • Bitter taste in the back of your throat
  • Burning sensation in the throat
  • Stuffiness or sensation of something stuck in your throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Throat Cleaning
  • Drainage from the back of the nose (postnatal drip)

LPR can also affect infants and young children who may develop following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Recurrent ear infections due to damaged Eustachian tube
  • Hoarseness
  • Stridor or noisy breathing
  • Croup
  • Asthma
  • Spitting up
  • Breathing apnea or pauses
  • Aspiration
  • Turning blue (Cyanosis)
  • Apparent Life-Threatening Event (ALTE)

What are the Risk Factors for GERD and LPR?

Many physical abnormalities and life-style factors can increase your chances of developing GERD and LPR, such as:

  • Abnormal LES
  • Diet with fatty and spicy foods
  • Overeating
  • Abnormal esophageal contractions
  • Alcohol and tobacco abuse
  • Hiatal hernia

Do I Have to See a Doctor?

Your otolaryngologist is as important as your gastroenterologist, when it comes to GERD and LPR. Many complications relating to GERD and LPR such as malfunctioning Eustachian tube, lasting buildup of middle ear fluid, airway narrowing, throat and laryngeal lesions, and changes in the esophageal lining have to do with your ear, nose and throat. It is important to see an experienced ENT specialist if the symptoms of your GERD and LPR persist.

How are GERD and LPR Diagnosed?

Following diagnostic procedures may be employed by your ENT doctor to diagnose your GERD and LPR:

  • Physical examination
  • Patient’s response to a trial of medication treatment
  • Endoscopic examination of your throat and esophagus with the help of a tube with a camera inserted through your nose
  • Biopsy
  • X-ray examination of the esophagus
  • 24 hour pH probe
  • Emptying study of the stomach

How are GERD and LPR Treated?

Following medications can help alleviate the symptoms of GERD and LPR:

  • Antacids
  • Pro-motility drugs
  • Histamine antagonists
  • Foam barrier medications
  • Proton pump inhibitors

Following lifestyle changes can help manage GERD and LPR:

  • Avoiding eating two to three hours before going to bed
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating small meals
  • Losing weight
  • Limiting problem foods such as chocolate, peppermint, tomatoes, and citrus fruits as well as fatty and fried foods.
  • Wearing loose clothing

To correct anatomical abnormalities surgery may be required. Following surgical options are available:

  • Fundoplication
  • Endoscopy

GERD and LPR can negatively affect the quality of life and if left unchecked, can lead to serious complications. If you or your loved one are experiencing some or all of its common systems, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!