Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

What is laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)?

LPR is a condition that occurs in a person who has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Acid made in the stomach travels up the esophagus (swallowing tube). When that stomach acid gets to the throat, it is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

Who gets laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)?

Anyone can get LPR, but it shows up more often as people age. People who have certain dietary habits, people who consistently wear tighter fitting or binding clothing, people who are overweight, and people who are overstressed are more likely to have laryngopharyngeal reflux.

What causes laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)?

LPR is caused by stomach acid that bubbles up into the throat as a result of GERD. Fortunately, most causes do not require medical care. They can be managed with lifestyle changes. To decrease your chance of LPR:

Do NOT:

  • Eat acidic, spicy, and fatty foods.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Smoke tobacco.
  • Drink caffeine-containing beverages (tea, coffee, soda, etc.).
  • Eat chocolate.
  • Eat mint or mint-flavored foods.
  • Wear tight or binding clothing.
  • Become overly stressed – learn tools to help manage or reduce stress levels.

DO:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid eating less than 2 hours before bedtime.

What are the symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)?

There are many symptoms of LPR, all of which relate to sensations in the throat. Fifty percent of people with LPR do not have symptoms of heartburn or an upset stomach. When there are symptoms, they include:

  • Mild hoarseness.
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat.
  • Need to clear the throat.
  • Sensation of mucous sticking in the throat and/or post-nasal drip.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Sore throat.
  • Red, swollen, or irritated voice box.