Gastroesophageal Reflux

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When you hear gastroesophageal reflux, you probably think about heartburn and stomach issues but unfortunately, gastroesophageal reflux can also cause problems in the throat and larynx. When acid frequently backs up into the esophagus alone, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If the stomach acid refluxes all the way up the esophagus into the throat or voice box, it is known as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

GERD and LPR may occur together, but people may have symptoms from LPR alone without typical heartburn symptoms. LPR can start to cause damage to the larynx and may need medical attention.

Symptoms of LPR may include

  • Hoarseness or unusually raspy voice
  • Frequent throat clearing or coughing
  • Post-nasal drip
  • A bitter taste
  • Constant or frequent sore or irritated throat
  • Something “stuck” or a “lump” in the back of the throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Choking or difficulty breathing especially when lying down

GERD and LPR often result from lifestyle factors and occasionally structural abnormalities. Eating foods like chocolate, citrus, fatty foods, spicy foods or having habits like overeating, eating late, lying down right after eating, and alcohol/tobacco use will likely cause GERD and LPR. Avoiding or at least minimizing these foods or habits can significantly improve symptoms. Physical causes such as obesity, pregnancy, having a hiatal hernia, abnormal esophageal spasms, and slow stomach emptying can also increase one’s chances of reflux.

Diet and lifestyle changes are often effective in treating most cases of GERD and LPR. However, occasionally medications and even certain procedures are necessary to fully relieve symptoms and prevent damage to the larynx, esophagus and other structures.

Here at the ENT Specialists of Wisconsin we see many individuals with symptoms of LPR. Diagnosis is based on history of symptoms, exam and often a diagnostic exam that can visualize the larynx, (a.k.a. a laryngoscopy), pH testing in the throat or swallowing tests. If you or a loved one has symptoms, contact us today for a consultation and treatment plan.

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Dr. Meyer & the staff at ENT Specialists in Appleton are wonderful! They eased my daughter's anxiety while having tests done. Very friendly and knowledgeable.

— Kelly F.

Very good experience with a very professional, detailed and caring practice. They took the time to diagnose the issue, and took no time at all to start treatment. I would recommend this practice to everyone!

— Heather S.

Dr. Keller was thorough and listened to my concerns, he did a complete exam and offered options to procced with types of treatment. I was pleased with the appointment. Again he listened to what I was saying, some doctors don't have that skill.

— Warren D.

Great service! The audiologists in Neenah and Oshkosh truly care about a client with hearing loss. They take the time to provide individualized hearing loss education and also provide excellent follow up support after selling hearing aids. Highly recommended!

— Matt B.

Great staff. The location is easy to find. Very accommodating and well organized. Would not hesitate to recommend Dr. Mjaanes and his staff.

— Douglas K.

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