Millions of people suffer from acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), every day. But many don’t know that they may also be suffering from a related condition called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). LPR is a lesser-known cousin of GERD, and it can cause just as much damage if left untreated.
So what’s the difference between GERD and LPR? And how can you tell if you have LPR instead of GERD? Keep reading to learn more.
At Alpine Ear Nose & Throat, our ear, nose, and throat doctors (ENTs) specialize in detecting and treating conditions like GERD and LPR. Our ENT specialists have decades of experience diagnosing and treating these conditions, so you can trust us to provide the best possible care. Contact us today to get started!
What Are They?
GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a chronic digestive disorder that occurs when stomach acids or other contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux) is a type of GERD that occurs when stomach acid and other contents of the stomach travel up the esophagus and into the throat, causing irritation and inflammation of the larynx and pharynx.
The symptoms of GERD and LPR can be very similar, making it difficult to tell the two apart. Common symptoms include a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn), throat clearing, coughing, hoarseness, the sensation of a lump in the throat, trouble swallowing, sore throat, and other problems with the voice.
Differences in Timing
What helps distinguish these two apart is the timing of symptoms. GERD typically causes heartburn and other symptoms after eating or at night. In contrast, LPR often causes symptoms during the day and can be made worse by eating (particularly acidic foods).
Other Distinguishing Features
The most significant difference between GERD and LPR is that GERD affects mainly the esophagus, while LPR affects the throat. This means that with LPR, the symptoms may be more severe and include ear pain and sinus problems. Additionally, people with LPR may experience a sour taste in the mouth and difficulty breathing.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are experiencing symptoms of GERD or LPR, it’s important to seek medical advice. An ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) can diagnose the condition and help create a treatment plan that is right for you. Your ENT doctor may recommend lifestyle changes first, such as eating smaller portions and avoiding foods that trigger symptoms. If these changes don’t help, your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce acid production or neutralize stomach acid.
Work With Our Northern Colorado Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists
At Alpine Ear Nose & Throat, our experienced ENT specialists provide comprehensive care for GERD and LPR in Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, and Cheyenne. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, contact us today. We look forward to helping you find relief from GERD and LPR!