Are you putting up with a stingy feel and discomfort in your throat? Could be a possible symptom of silent reflux. The term ‘Reflux’ refers to a backward or returning action.
Also known as Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), the condition shows up when the stomach acids flow through to the larynx or voice box and reverse back to the throat. It is quite like GERD, wherein there is a backflow of contents in the stomach to the esophagus or food pipe. The discomfort is felt in the middle of the trunk, right behind the breastbone.
Usually, GERD showcases symptoms like heartburn. However, symptoms of silent reflux in individuals may or may not involve heartburns. You can encounter hoarseness in your throat, coughing and an urge to clear your throat every now and then. Before spilling the beans on what symptoms to look for, let us first understand what silent reflux is all about.
What is silent reflux?
Silent reflux is a disorder much like acid reflux but with a few contrasts. When struck with gastroesophageal reflux disorder (acid reflux), one may often experience severe heartburns. The period may exist from twice a week for good three weeks. What usually happens in such conditions is that contents in stomach flow in reverse and pile into the food pipe or esophagus. Hence the term ‘Reflux’. Silent reflux pops up in the same manner without the usual symptoms of heartburn. The acid travels as far up to the voice box or larynx and stacks up in the back of the throat. This certainly affects the larynx causing inflammation. The condition is mostly noted in infants and children. Wondering why
Well, because esophageal sphincters in toddlers are not very developed. However, LPR is also noted in adults.
What causes LPR?
Are you schooled about sphincters? Well, this is a term given to a ring of muscles on either end of the esophagus. The functional role of sphincters is to keep all stomach contents thriving into the places they are meant to be in. However, with LPR or silent reflux, these contents juggle and the acid kicks back into the pharynx and the voice box. Sometimes, it also flows right back into the nasal passage. Of course, swelling shoots up in areas that are delicate and are not shielded against strong gastric acid exposure.
What are the prominent symptoms of silent reflux?
- Unusual raspy voice – Let’s just call it an aftermath of laryngitis, a symptom of silent reflux. Little did you know that the larynx is positioned very close to the esophagus. Therefore, it is quite predictable that any disorder felt in the esophagus casts an impact on the larynx. It is also true that our voice responds to any disturbance quicker than thought. The vocal cords undergo inflammation, lending to a coarse and harsh voice. However, many times, it is only that the larynx is affected. It swells up causing a lot of pain. Therefore, you might put up with a little struggle and pain when trying to speak.
- Signs of asthma – Many times, it has been tested and found that patients of asthma are also targeted with acid reflux disorder. Under such circumstances, you might really have to struggle to breathe in and breathing out. This regular activity could pop up as an extremely painful process. If it’s just too difficult to breathe out, then it surely speaks of asthma. However, if breathing in is equally painful and discomforting, it is undoubtedly a silent reflux spin-off.
- A sore throat – As has been mentioned repeatedly, painful throat is a common symptom of LPR. It swells up and is inflamed due to excessive gastric acid exposure.
- Globus syndrome – The constant feeling of having lumps in the throat. That’s all about the Globus syndrome. Inflammation in the affected area causes the mucous membranes to swell up. So, these lumps are nothing but a coagulation of swollen tissues. It’s not too big or severe. However, you are always forced to feel as though there are lumps inside that needs clearing.
- Belching – It is often reckoned as the most noted symptom of silent reflux. Every-time you belch, air shoots up the esophagus along with the gastric acid and pepsins.
- A chronic cough – By now it is clear that unwanted acids transported casts an ugly spell on the mucous membranes. Not only are the membranes irritated but they swell up too. This certainly paves way for painful chronic cough and an urge to clear the throat frequently. It’s not just the throat that gets irritated, you might encounter symptoms like burning tongue, irritated nose, and painful ears too.
- Post nasal drip – It occurs more frequently than normal. The mucous instead of dripping out runs back into the throat causing extreme discomfort. Bear in mind, when the mucous membranes are irritated, the body naturally secretes more mucus as its defense practice. This makes you feel laded with mucous almost everywhere around the affected area.
- Nausea – Tendency of vomiting spikes up during silent reflux. This is because the affected throat gets stimulated and a natural vomiting reflux steps up. It could also originate from stomach problems that are undeniable, the root cause of reflux.
Of course, there’s an array of medicines available to treat silent reflux. Antacids work wonders as a quick fix. H-2 blockers, a variant of antihistamines might be prescribed, especially if you are bothered by a cough. Adults are prescribed to bring a change in their eating habits and lifestyle. If medicines fail to work, proton pump inhibitors as suggested to slacken stomach acids by large.