Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are similar – both result from the contents of the stomach backing up (reflux). But the symptoms of LPR are often different than those typical of GERD.
With LPR, you may not have the classic symptoms of GERD, such as a burning sensation in your lower chest (heartburn). That is why it can be hard to diagnose and is sometimes called “silent reflux”. The doctor can diagnose it through physical examinations, such as an endoscopic exam.
Stomach acid that pools in the throat and larynx can cause long-term irritation and damage. Without treatment, it can be serious. Silent reflux can scar the throat and voice box. It can also increase cancer risk in the area, affect the lungs, resulting in conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis.
Medication that help reduce and neutralize gastric acid are usually prescribed. But in some severe cases, surgery may be required.