Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease: What Is LPR?

Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (or LPR) is a condition in which stomach juice refluxes up through the esophagus into the back of the throat, causing irritation in the vocal cords and lungs. In other words, LPR is the term used to describe the irritation that results from frequent reflux. Laryngopharyngeal reflux is often referred to as silent reflux because in many patients it doesn't present with typical acid reflux symptoms

Diagnosing LPR

LPR is typically suspected when a patient is found to have irritation of the vocal cords or airway during an evaluation for throat or lung related symptoms. 

Tests used to diagnose Laryngopharyngeal reflux include: 

     • 24 hour impedance/pH testing

     • 48 hour capsule pH testing

     • Esophageal manometry

     • Barium esophagram

Symptoms of LPR

LPR is common in patients with GERD, and can present with or without other typical GERD symptoms. Most patients with LPR don't suffer from heartburn, but rather from the following symptoms:

     • Hoarseness

     • Continual throat clearing/irritation

     • Chronic cough

     • Shortness of breath

     • Recurring sinus infections not due to other causes

Treatments For Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

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

To learn more about each specific option, visit our GERD treatment page.