What Is Reflux?
Reflux disease, also known as GERD or LPR or LPRD, is a condition where stomach contents come back up the esophagus and burn the throat, vocal cords, and lining of the esophagus. It can be caused by a loose “valve” between the esophagus and stomach, can be caused by dietary intolerances, or by eating the wrong foods. It can present as hoarseness, thick mucus in the throat, throat clearing, swallowing trouble, chronic sore throat, or chronic cough.
Diagnosing reflux requires proving that acid is causing the irritation in the throat as many other sources of irritation can exist. Dr. Beaver uses pharyngeal pH measurement (typically 24 hours only) to diagnose reflux that is causing throat problems. In a recent publication by Dr. Beaver, almost half of the patients with chronic hoarseness and cough did not have reflux as the cause. Therefore, taking medicine without making a diagnosis is inaccurate and often can lead to inappropriate use of acid medicine. Surgery is appropriate for reflux when it is severe or not helped by medicine, and several surgical options are available when this is the case.