A form of gastroesophageal disease known as the Silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) can be pretty confusing which may exist in a person without any obvious signs of gastroesophageal reflux. There are various factors which may lead to silent reflux and the lifestyle of an individual greatly impact on the symptoms of silent reflux or the LPR. In this current article, we will talk about some of the symptoms, causes, diagnosis & treatments along with the best home remedies, diet and nutrition and the preventive measures for Silent reflux.

Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

What is Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?

"Reflux" is actually a Greek term meaning "Backflow" and it usually refers to the back flow of the contents from stomach. Usually, once the things eaten reach the stomach, digestion should begin without the contents of the stomach refluxing or coming back up again. However, Silent reflux or the Laryngopharyngeal Reflux refers to the backflow of the stomach contents, maybe the food or stomach acid, all the way to the larynx or the pharynx. Laryngopharyngeal Reflux is called Silent reflux, because not many people with this condition suffer from indigestion, heartburn or show any drastic symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. This silent reflux may either occur during the day or during the night. Because the Laryngopharyngeal reflux is silent at times, it is difficult to diagnose.

Symptoms of Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

Here below are some of the most notable and common symptoms of silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal reflux.

  • Dry cough
  • Voice loss or hoarseness in voice
  • Severe throat clearing.
  • Sore throat
  • Sensation of lump or like something stuck in the throat
  • Postnasal drip.

There may also be some chronic symptoms which includes the following:

  • Narrowing of airways
  • Ulcers in larynx
  • Pneumonia
  • Vocal scarring etc
  • In rare cases of LPR, the reflux may lead to cancer in oesophagus.

Causes of Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

The most important causes for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux are the improper dietary or eating habits, obesity and lack of proper nutrition. Below we will look for some of the most important causes for silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal reflux:

  • Alcohol may be a big factor for silent reflux.
  • Coffee and tea can cause silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal reflux
  • LPR or silent reflux is also caused by carbonated beverages.
  • High fat contents in the foods may also lead to silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal reflux
  • Spicy foods also causes Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
  • Orange juice and various other acidic beverages cause LPR.

Diagnosis for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

As mentioned earlier; the diagnosis of silent reflux may be pretty difficult. However, the following methods of diagnosis can make it clear about the conditions of silent reflux or LPR in individuals. Usually a combination of medical history of the person, physical examination and one or more diagnosis tests are done for diagnosis of the condition. Following are the tests or examinations for diagnosing silent reflux.

  1. Endoscopic examination: This is a physical examination where the physician uses a flexible, thin tube so as to look at your throat and the vocal folds on a monitor.
  2. pH Monitoring: A small catheter is placed through your nose by the physician and also in to your throat and esophagus. You need to wear a small computer during this procedure of diagnosis. The sensors detect the amount of acid present and the computer would record the findings during a 24 hour period.
  3. There will also be assessing of your voice quality, efficiency and the speaking technique while undergoing the diagnosis processes for silent reflux.

Treatments for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

Now, if you are looking for the treatments for Silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR); then here is what you can find out some of the treatments below.

  1. Treatment for Silent Reflux via Medications: There are certain medications which can reduce or neutralize the gastric acid in silent reflux. Some of such medications include the Antacids, H2 blockers, Prokinetic agents, Sucralfate (for repairing the injured mucous membranes) and the proton pump inhibitors.
  2. Lifestyle Modification to Treat Silent Reflux: In order to treat your condition in Silent reflux, your doctor might advice some of the recommended lifestyle modifications. These include losing weight if required, avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking, limiting chocolates, caffeine, citrus fruits etc which are acid producing etc.
  3. Anti reflux Surgery for Silent Reflux: There are some patients who might suffer from chronic conditions of LPR or silent reflux. In such patients the symptoms can be treated by an "Anti-reflux" surgery which involves the surgical removal and replacement of a new stomach valve for proper digestion and keeping away from the reflux. This surgery can relieve the patients from silent reflux for many years.

Treating Silent Reflux in Babies:

The little ones can also suffer from the symptoms of Silent reflux and babies may at times show signs of being in pain or may have persistent cough when suffering from silent reflux. Below are some of the ways you can help ease the reflux in your baby.

  • Try to feed him or her with frequent and small feeds which may help prevent your baby's stomach from getting extremely full
  • Keep him/her upright for at least 30 minutes after a feed and also during the feed time so as to help reduce the reflux
  • It is essential to keep your baby quiet and still after feeding and help in better digestion
  • Make sure you avoid dressing up your kid with tight clothing, especially those tight around the stomach, which may worsen the reflux.
  • Baby massage has proved beneficial in treating reflux in many babies.

It is always advisable for the parents to seek medical help from an expert child specialist in case you see your baby in pain or persistent coughing.

Best Home Remedies for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

Best home remedies for treating silent reflux primarily begins from taking the necessary supplements or nutrition, avoiding the problematic diet and following a healthy dietary habit. We will be talking about these in the following paragraphs. Apart from all these, there are also some herbal remedies which can be taken by an individual suffering from silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal reflux and treat the symptoms naturally. We will also discuss about the herbal remedies for silent reflux in the following array of our article.

Diet for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

Proper diet, nutrition and dietary habits keep a great importance in reducing or avoiding the symptoms of Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. Below are some points to note down on the best diet and nutrition for silent reflux.

Recommended Supplements or Nutrition for People Suffering from Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

It is good to add some crucial supplements or the appropriate nutrition to your regular diet for preventing silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. Below are some of the important supplements to note down which must be added in your diet.

  • Licorice aids in coating the stomach and preventing reflux.
  • A combination of Glutamine, aloe and licorice in the powder form can also be taken before 15 minutes of eating your meal. This helps in proper digestion by coating the stomach lining. Probiotics like Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria help in reducing indigestion and preventing silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
  • Using digestive enzymes for breaking down of the food is essential.
  • Magnesium is highly essential for proper digestion. It is recommended to add more of food rich in magnesium or take magnesium supplements for improving the digestive system
  • Zinc carnosine is another supplement which helps in improving the digestion and in reducing the symptoms of Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux.

Diet or Foods to Avoid in Case of Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

  • Avoid tea, coffee, caffeine etc.
  • Avoid alcohol and quit smoking
  • Avoid orange juice or other acidic drinks
  • Chocolate and foods with high fat content must be avoided.
  • Avoid eating spicy foods.

Dietary Habits that Can Help Manage Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

It is most important to keep a check on your dietary habits in order to reduce Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. Follow the below tips.

  • Instead of taking three large meals in a day, take five small meals in a regular interval
  • Sit upright while eating and remain straight after two or three hours of your meal.
  • Avoid eating three hours before bed.

Some of the Herbal Remedies for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

  1. Marshmallow-A Herbal Remedy for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux: This herb is primarily used as a herbal medicine in various ways. It is known that Marshmallow root can greatly improve digestion and reduce the production of stomach acids that can cause Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. Though there are some rare side effects of the marshmallow roots, it can sometimes cause diarrhea in some individuals. It is thus essential to consult with your physician before taking the herb.
  2. Catnip for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux: Catnip is also a well known herb used in herbal medicines. Ancient Chinese used to drink catnip tea for relieving the congestion in chest. This herb is also known to improve digestion by soothing the muscles of the digestive tract and reducing the production of stomach acids that may back flow to esophagus in silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. There are chances that sometimes Catnip may cause stomach upset in some individuals. This is the reason it is essential to talk with your doctor before using the herb.
  3. Herbal Treatment for Silent Reflux Using Chamomile: Widely known in United States as herb that may help relieve the symptoms of insomnia, Chamomile is also known to treat various digestive problems, especially the peptic ulcers. This can be used as a tea for soothing the oesophagus and for relieving irritation in silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. It must be noted that Chamomile may sometimes cause nausea in some persons.

Preventive Measures for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

Below are some of the preventive measures for Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

  • Control your weight and keep away from obesity
  • Maintain proper dietary habits (As explained above)
  • Have proper rest and sound sleep
  • Manage stress and keep away from chronic stressful conditions which may lead to silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
  • Have a healthy lifestyle without alcohol and smoking can go a long way in managing Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux.
  • Taking five deep breaths before eating helps in preventing signs of silent reflux.

FAQs on Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux:

Below are some of the FAQs linked to Silent Reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux.

  1. Is it necessary that one suffering from silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux must require the treatments forever?

    Most people with silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux require taking medicines most of the time and many such patients also require taking the medicines all time. In many people silent reflux may fade away for months or years but may relapse again at any point of time.

  2. What serious problems can be caused by silent reflux which needs proper medical attention?

    Silent reflux or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux may rarely cause cancer of the esophagus, throat or the larynx, may cause choking of breaths, bronchitis etc.

  3. What is the Difference between Laryngopharyngeal Reflux and GERD?

    LPR or the Laryngopharyneal reflux is actually a form of the GERD or the gastroesophageal disease, which causes a refluxing of the food or the stomach acid back up to the esophagus and causes various symptoms of indigestion and heartburn at times.

  4. Can chronic stress cause silent reflux?

    Yes! Silent reflux or signs of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux can be caused due to chronic stress. The fact is stress affects the nerves in ones stomach and thus making it impossible for the proper processing of the food. This in turn causes the food to flow back up instead of going down. It is in fact essential for you to be relaxed for proper digestion of the food. You can improve the digestion by breathing deep before eating and reducing the stress.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: March 28, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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