While you’ve probably heard of acid reflux, did you know there’s another type of reflux called silent reflux? Though they share half of a name, the two forms of reflux are very different. In this article we will describe the differences between silent reflux (more formally known as laryngopharyngeal reflux disease) and acid reflux including symptoms, treatments, and when it’s time to see a reflux specialist.
Despite sharing the word “reflux” in the name, silent reflux—known formally as Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)—and acid reflux are different. The main differences between silent reflux and acid reflux is that silent reflux does not produce heartburn as a telltale symptom and that stomach acid rises into the larynx rather than the esophagus.
Silent reflux—known more formally is a condition in which stomach acid travels up the esophagus and into the throat, which can cause complications.
What causes silent reflux?
LPR is caused by stomach acid that bubbles up into the throat. When you swallow, food passes down your throat and through your esophagus to your stomach and when the lower esophageal sphincter that controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach is weakened, stomach acid rises into the larynx.
As the name might suggest, silent reflux symptoms are oftentimes hard to detect. The most common symptom is a persistent sore or scratchy throat. Other symptoms of silent reflux include:
· Feeling of a lump in the throat
· Persistent cough
· Difficulty swallowing
· Irritation in the larynx
Treatments for LPR are similar to the ones used for treating GERD. Treatment plans vary based on each individual case, but will generally include one or more of the following options:
• Lifestyle changes to reduce reflux
• Medication to reduce stomach acid
• Surgery to prevent reflux
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux refers to when stomach acid rises into the esophagus and throat, which is often caused by a weakening of the lower esophageal (LES) muscle. If you experience chronic acid reflux (characterized by reflux more than twice weekly), you may suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
While acid reflux and heartburn are often used interchangeably, heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Other acid reflux symptoms include:
· Pain in the chest
· Difficulty swallowing
There are a number of treatments for acid reflux. If you only suffer from occasional acid reflux, lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medications may be enough. However, if you suffer from chronic acid reflux or GERD, you may need prescription medications or surgery.
If you experience symptoms of acid reflux or silent reflux, it’s important to call a reflux specialist to diagnose and treat your ailment, whichever it may be.