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What exactly is silent reflux? – Mother Nature Network

For years Harvey Shiffman, fifty nine, a dentist in Boynton, Fl, had issues with throat clearing, lack of voice in the mornings and congestion. After numerous medical consultations remaining him with a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance, he finally saw an ENT who discovered his silent reflux.

Silent reflux, also called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), similar to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder), is the result of contents from the stomach backing up into the esophagus. Since it’s sneaky, you may not possess classic symptoms of GERD like acid reflux, which is why it’s also tricky to diagnose.

Symptoms are vague, hence silent, like excessive throat clearing, hoarseness, cough or a lump in the throat that never appears to go away.

Precisely why do I have silent reflux?

Sphincters at the top plus bottom of the esophagus are supposed to control stomach contents and prevent them from splashing up into the throat. With silent reflux, it may be that the sphincters’ don’t have adequate control and the stomach acids are backing up, especially when you are lying down.

“Symptoms with no burning are harder to diagnose, and you may even notice noises whenever you breathe or difficulty swallowing tablets or food, ” says Teri Goetz, LAc, MS, ACC, a Chinese and Integrative Medicine practitioner with practices in New York City and Millbrook.

While quiet reflux is harder to diagnose, doctors look at symptoms, medical history and can run several tests such as a good endoscopic exam, an in-office procedure to view the throat, as well as a pH monitoring test for which sensors are put in the throat via catheter to detect acid.

“Silent reflux can present first being a dental problem, ” says Doctor Frank Farrelly, a dentist within Sydney, Australia. Reflux causes chafing of the upper front teeth particularly. The acid causes the teeth enamel to get worn, leading to sensitivity.

Prescription plus home remedies

Remedies are similar to regular reflux: lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking and missing alcohol, chocolate, caffeine and spicy foods. You may also need medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and antacids to reduce or control gastric acid.

In Goetz’s experience, using herbal remedies to soothe and repair the tissue much more useful than the classic prescription associated with proton pump inhibitors for two reasons. “One: we need stomach acid. Usually reflux is caused by too little stomach acid and food doesn’t get properly digested. When we take a PPI, it actually may alleviate the symptom, but you can make the problem worse. And, 2, you’re not addressing the root cause of the issue and eventually, you’re that person popping TUMS constantly, which, by the way, also causes it to be worse. “

Since acid medications lose efficiency right after months, Shiffman’s internist recommended he or she read the book “Wheat Belly” and alter his diet. “I completely changed my diet removing wheat/gluten and many grains. My condition has improved 95 percent. I am off just about all acid medications, blood pressure meds, bad cholesterol meds and have lost 15 lbs with the same exercise and balance of diet, ” says Shiffman.

Goetz recommends Tonsils Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals or licorice root tea. Throat Coat contains many mucilegenic herbal treatments like licorice root and marshmallow root, which helps heal cells. But don’t take if you have hypertension.

If you have high blood pressure, you can chew DGL (the deglycyrrhizinated type of licorice) tablets instead, which take away the part of licorice that raises stress. It’s also useful for indigestion, ulcers plus canker sores.

Various other treatments Goetz recommends include L-glutamine (which heals leaky gut and has a similar effect as the herbs pointed out above), lifestyle changes and a low acidity diet until you have tamed your symptoms. Plus, never eat within a few hours of bedtime.

Don’t forget about the possibility of chafing. There are many options to help protect teeth from silent reflux. Most important gets the reflux under control. “In conditions of protecting the teeth, reducing acid solution intake helps, ” says Farrelly. Drink plenty of water, particularly right after acidic foods. And pick up a special erosion toothpaste for sensitive tooth.

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