Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

Last week, we posted a blog entry about gastroesophageal reflux disease, often referred to as GERD. As a refresher, GERD occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. GERD is commonly characterized by the burning sensation known as heartburn. Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is another reflux disease, albeit one that is not normally associated with heartburn.

So how is LPR different from GERD? During GERD, the contents of the stomach and upper digestive tract reflux all the way up the esophagus. LPR occurs when those contents reach beyond the upper esophageal sphincter (the ring of muscle at the top of the esophagus) and go into the back of the throat, sometimes even reaching the back of the nasal airway.

Typically, people who experience LPR complain that the back of their throat has a bitter taste, a sensation of burning, or something stuck. Other patients have hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, throat clearing and difficulty with the sensation of drainage from the back of the nose.

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