LPR/Acid Reflux/GERD

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

The term Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) refers to the regurgitation of food or stomach contents all the way back up into the throat, voice box or lungs. Common symptoms of this condition include nighttime regurgitation, feeling of throatburn and irritation, constant cough or throat clearing, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, postnasal drip and reflux-induced sleep disruption.

Sometimes reflux can make other conditions worse such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis and COPD, so the Reza Band may help.

What Causes LPR

At either end of your esophagus is a ring of muscle called a sphincter. Normally, these sphincters keep the contents of your stomach where they belong - in your stomach. But when the sphincters are weak or dysfunctional, stomach content backs up into your throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), or even into your lungs causing harmful irritation, inflammation and damage.

LPR Symptoms

Typical symptoms of LPR include hoarseness, excessive throat clearing, persistent cough, feeling of a lump in the throat, postnasal drip, and sore throat.

Complications of LPR

Stomach acid in the throat and larynx can cause long-term irritation and damage. Without treatment, it can scar the throat and voice box. It also can increase risk for throat cancer, affect the lungs, and may irritate other conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis.

Treating LPR

Treatments for LPR may include:

  • Lifestyle modifications - Losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and restricting spicy foods are important and helpful measures in managing reflux. For many who suffer from LPR, however, diet and lifestyle changes only moderately improve their symptoms or don’t help at all.
  • Incline sleeping - Sleeping in an elevated or inclined position aids in keeping reflux at bay. Unfortunately many find these sleep positions uncomfortable, unnatural and in many cases, ineffective.
  • Acid reducing drugs - Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers work for some, but for many who suffer from LPR, they are only somewhat effective or not helpful at all. This is because acid reducing drugs only limit the amount of acid your body produces. They don’t prevent the reflux from regurgitating up into your sensitive throat and lungs. Remaining acid and enzymes like pepsin that your body needs to break down your food, do serious damage in your throat, voice box and lungs.  Additionally, new research suggests that long-term use of PPI’s can increase one’s risk for serious conditions such as kidney or heart disease, dementia, stroke and bone fracture, among others.
  • Surgery - There are a variety of procedures available that address the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). They vary in cost, recovery time, risk and effectiveness. Most physicians consider surgery a last resort.
  • Reza Band - The Reza Band is the only non-pill, non-invasive treatment option for LPR that allows the user to sleep in any position. It is proven safe and effective (link to clinical studies).

LPR and GERD

The term LPR is used to describe when stomach contents come up past the UES and into your throat and lungs, causing damage and irritation.  

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is caused by the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus, which leads to tissue damage or esophagitis and heartburn.  

Over 80% of the people who have LPR have no heartburn. For them, the stomach contents that reflux do not stay in the esophagus for very long and do not have enough time to irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn.  

The throat, voice box and lungs are much more sensitive to injury and irritation from stomach contents, so even small amounts of refluxed material in these sensitive areas can cause serious damage.