Silent reflux is known in medical circles as Laryngopharyngeal Reflux or LPR. It is comparable to GERD. The significant difference is that with LPR, the reflux goes beyond the upper sphincter and goes up the throat. There are no signs of the heartburn typical of GERD; thus, people usually refer to it as the silent type.
In spite of the absence of the burning pain typical of GERD, the same antacid or other medicines used to avert, minimize, or eliminate abdominal pain, the same medications prescribed for GERD, are also the ones usually recommended for silent reflux. This is because the identical acid that causes stomach pains and heartburn is also to blame for this type of reflux.
What causes this reflux? The esophagus has muscles known as sphincters which work to keep the food that we eat in the stomach. When the sphincters fail in this function, not all of the stomach contents remain where they are. The stomach acids flow right back up the lower esophagus, (which is not as sensitive to acid as the upper esophagus, thus the absence of heartburn), throat, or the voice box, or even in some cases, in the nasal air passageways. The gastric acid can cause the said areas to become irritated, sometimes to the point of swelling.
Infants are particularly prone to develop this condition. There are several reasons for this. In the first place, their sphincters have not matured enough. Also, their esophagus is shorter compared to the length these organs will eventually achieve in time as the infants grow older. In addition to these, infants are more often lying down on their backs or their stomachs, increasing the tendency to develop the reflux. Adults, however, are not exempt from this condition despite their more mature and well-developed sphincter muscles and esophagus.
Silent reflux is more difficult to diagnose because of the absence of the symptoms usually linked to acid reflux. People with this condition usually go to the doctor completely unaware that they have this condition. More often than not, they seek medical advice thinking that the symptoms are indicative of some other disease.
Children with this reflux usually complain about breathing difficulties associated with asthma and cough. They breathe with a noticeably loud and raspy resonance. They cough constantly. They are difficult to feed, usually spitting out or choking on their food, and thus may find it difficult to gain weight.
Adults, on the other hand, usually exhibit symptoms associated with a chronic cough or a sore throat. They often imagine a fiery hot pain at the back of their throat as if it were aflame. They often become hoarse, finding it painful to speak, swallow, and breathe. They frequently cough, usually dislodging sticky phlegm. They feel as if something is lodged in their throat which no amount of swallowing can clear.
A medical doctor usually reaches the right diagnosis through several tests and processes. He usually does a thorough physical exam on the patient. He tries to conduct a careful and meticulous interview regarding the patient’s previous and present medical conditions and problems.
Several diagnostic tests may be conducted. An endoscopy on the throat and vocal cords may be required to clearly show the present condition of these areas. A pH monitoring process may likewise be done. This entails putting a tiny catheter through the nose, down the throat, and into the esophagus. This procedure is meant to find out if acid, and to what extent, is indeed present in the areas. Findings are monitored for an entire twenty-four hours through a little computer which the patient wears around his waist area.2016-08-04