There are different types, really degrees, of reflux. Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes not. Reflux occurs when stomach acid gets into the esophagus (GERD). The acid may go all the way up to the back of the throat (LPR) or even into the mouth.
The esophagus is the tube that brings food or drink from our mouths into the stomach. It has a lining that is able to tolerate some acid without causing heartburn. The upper throat isn’t tolerant of any acid. If a lot of acid goes into the esophagus it can cause the sensation of heartburn. This feels like a burning sensation in the center of the chest. If a small amount of acid passes into the esophagus, no symptoms may occur. If it goes as high as the throat it may cause a variety of symptoms even without experiencing heartburn. This is called silent reflux or laryngopharyngeal reflux.
Some of the symptoms of silent reflux are the following:
- A feeling of a lump in the throat
- Frequent throat clearing
- A burning sensation in the throat
- A feeling of post-nasal drip
- A dry cough
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- An unpleasant acid taste in the mouth
Silent reflux can be diagnosed in various ways. At our Ear, Nose and Throat offices in Fairfield County, Connecticut, we examine the upper throat with a small endoscope in the office looking for swelling or redness of the throat or voice box. A test called a pH probe test can be used to confirm the diagnosis and measure the degree of reflux present. Sometimes, it is necessary to have an x-ray called a barium swallow or use a longer endoscope used to look into the esophagus.
If you’re experiencing some of the above symptoms, it’s best to visit your physician. Untreated reflux may cause damage to the vocal cords causing permanent voice change. Certain lung problems like asthma can be exacerbated by reflux. Severe reflux may increase the likelihood of esophageal cancer.
At Advanced Ear, Nose and Throat Care, our physicians Dr. Michael Bard, Dr. James Batti, Dr. Dov Bloch, Dr. Anthony Fama, Dr. Jay Klarsfeld, and Dr. Jeffrey Monroe treat most conditions of the ear, head, neck, eyes, nose and throat.These conditions range from silent reflux, ear infections, tonsil and adenoids, sleep disturbance, thyroid nodules and palate surgery to nasal polyps, and deviated septum sleep apnea.We are located in Fairfield County, CT in the towns of Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk, Ridgefield and Southbury.