While heartburn is common in reflux, not everyone with reflux experiences it. Hoarseness, throat clearing, the sensation of a tickle in the throat and cough – usually when in an upright position – may be associated with GERD affecting the throat. This is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). These patients might have a chronic cough or repetitive throat clearing, or they experience changes in the tenor of their speech (pace, voice pattern, or pitch). Their laryngeal inflammation can worsen even though their GERD has resolved.
They are usually a combination of an antihistamine and a decongestant. Other common combinations include mucus thinning agents, anti-cough agents, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
But take good voice history, listen to what they are doing, watch for repetitive throat clearing and coughing, talk to their family members, and ask what their voice habits are during the day. It’s critical to get them involved with an otolaryngologist who is interested in voice.
What is postnasal
Sometimes the problem is not that you’re producing too much mucus, but that it’s not being cleared away. Swallowing problems can cause a buildup of liquids in the throat, which can feel like postnasal drip. These problems can sometimes occur with age, a blockage, or conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.
When you swallow, food passes down your throat and through your esophagus to your stomach. A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter controls the opening between the esophagus and the stomach. The muscle remains tightly closed except when you swallow food. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition in which the stomach’s contents often come back up into the food pipe. Dietary changes can help to ease symptoms.
In the prospective trials on GERD and laryngopharyngeal reflux disease, when they performed a meta-analysis, it suggested that these patients have increased response to antireflux therapy. However, when they adjusted for a variety of other factors, they found that patients didn’t respond to GERD therapy if they didn’t have GERD. Only approximately 20% of acid reflux sufferers get heartburn, the symptom most associated with the condition. Eighty percent (80%) experience respiratory symptoms, such as sinus issues, chronic cough, post-nasal drip and thick mucus in the throat. With those statistics, itâ€™s no wonder its misdiagnosis is so prevalent.
Guaifenesin (Humibid, Fenesin, Organidin) is a commonly used formulation. If a rash develops or there is swelling of the salivary glands, this medication should be discontinued. Inadequate fluid intake will also thicken secretions. Drinking more water, eliminating caffeine from the diet, and avoiding diuretics can help.
I have them swallow rather than cough or repetitively clear their throats. I emphasize the importance of fluids, because if their secretions become viscous, it creates a noxious effect. You want to prevent that by having them be well hydrated so the secretions don’t get thick. What do we do with these patients?
The most commonly recognized symptom of acid reflux is â€œheartburn” due to irritation of the lining of the esophagus. This is ironic to see a post about this just today after my primary care doctor mentioned this.
What are the symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux?
Fundoplication is a type of surgery which involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophagus to create a stronger valve between the esophagus and stomach. It is usually done laparoscopically, with small surgical incisions and use of small surgical equipment and a laparoscope to help the surgeon see inside.
Postnasal drip occurs when that excess mucus runs down the back of your nose and into your throat, which can trigger a cough, sore or scratchy throat, and the feeling of a lump in your throat. These symptoms can share a close resemblance to symptoms of silent acid reflux. Chronic nonspecific cough, defined as a nonproductive cough in the absence of identifiable respiratory disease or known cause  persisting for more than three to eight weeks , poses a significant burden to healthcare costs and considerably impairs quality of life. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) represents one of the three main causes of chronic cough (along with asthma and upper airways cough/postnasal drip syndrome), implicated in up to 41% of chronic cough patients .
Staying hydrated is just as important to prevent postnasal drip as it is to treat it. Drinking warm or hot liquid, like tea or chicken soup, can thin out mucus and prevent dehydration. And as always, donâ€™t forget to drink plenty of water. This also thins out mucus and keeps your nasal passages moistened, relieving discomfort. You can turn to a number of home treatments to relieve the symptoms of postnasal drip.