When reflux happens in the esophagus, most people experience it as painful heartburn. This type of reflux is typically referred to as “acid reflux”, and it’s fairly common in the US, especially in patients with GERD. Acid reflux isn’t the only type of reflux, though. Laryngopharyngeal reflux happens when stomach acid backs up all the way into the voice box (larynx) or throat (pharynx). The larynx and pharynx are much more sensitive to stomach acid than the esophagus is, and this type of reflux results in a myriad of symptoms. Laryngopharyngeal reflux is often referred to as “silent reflux” because in many patients it doesn't present with typical reflux symptoms like heartburn, making it difficult to identify.
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