Speech Therapy

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
  • Hoarseness
  • 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.

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