What is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?
The term reflux is usually associated with the gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). This is more common in adults than in children. But, children can suffer from a different type of reflux disease called the laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). There are a few common symptoms that exist in both the disorders, but it is important to differentiate between the two.
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux and GERD: Typical GERD patients, have problems like burping, gastric pain and heart burns. These are the symptoms found in most adults.
- Children, though very rare can suffer from GERD, but quiet often they are prone to the reflux of the larynopharyngeal which come with symptoms of their own.
- Patients who suffer from the typical gastrointestinal problems have a heart burn or have esophagitis (esophagus inflammation). But, children with other reflux do not possess this problem.
- There would be stomach aches or pain when consuming meals in GERD patients while it is not the same with children suffering from the other one.
- In GERD, people suffer from refluxes during nights while in children with pharyngeal reflux, it is mostly in the days.
- In patients suffering from GERD, the stomach acid enters the swallowing tube due to a failure in the lower sphincter of the esophogaus.
- In children with pharyngeal reflux, it is the failure of the upper sphincter, that allows the acid into the nose and the throat’s back.
Symptoms of LPR: Let us look at a few symptoms in children.
- Persistent nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Frequent obstruction of the airway
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Nasal obstruction
- Mucous in the throat
- Ear pain
It is evident from the symptoms that a child would suffer from speech associated problems in case he/she suffers from this problem. A proper diagnosis and treatment is necessary in order to avoid any speech oriented problems.
Treatment: Once a child tests positive for LPR, PPI (proton pump inhibitor) drugs should be given which stop the acid production in the stomach.
- A reduction in stomach acids production would eventually stop the flow of acid into the throat.
- Most children would require the therapy of PPI for at least one month, while some may need it for 3 months.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux should be clearly discriminated from GERD in order to provide the efficient treatment to a child.