Laryngopharyngeal reflux
Laryngopharyngeal reflux

What is laryngopharyngeal reflux?

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a condition in which acid that is made in the stomach travels up the esophagus (swallowing tube) and gets to the throat.

Who gets laryngopharyngeal reflux?

Anyone can get LPR, but it occurs more often as people age. People who are more likely to have LPR include those who:

  • Have certain dietary habits.
  • Consistently wear tight or binding clothing.
  • Are overweight.
  • Are overstressed.

What causes laryngopharyngeal 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. A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach. The muscle remains tightly closed except when you swallow food.

When this muscle fails to close, the acid-containing contents of the stomach can travel back up into the esophagus. This backward movement is called reflux.

What are the symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux?

The symptoms of LPR are felt in the throat and include the following:

  • Sore throat
  • Mild hoarseness
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat
  • The need to clear the throat
  • The sensation of mucus sticking in the throat, and/or post-nasal drip
  • Chronic (long-term) cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Red, swollen, or irritated larynx (voice box).

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