Chronic Cough Enigma: How to Recognize Silent Reflux

  • Topic Info:If you have trouble breathing in, you may be one of more than 100 million Americans suffering from Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR), otherwise known as silent reflux.

    There are two valves located at both ends of your esophagus (called a sphincter muscle) that help the contents in your stomach flow from one end to the other. However, with LPR, the sphincter muscles don't work properly and stomach acid moves back into the throat, nasal airway and voice box.

    Unlike acid reflux where you can feel indigestion and heartburn, the symptoms you feel if you have LPR are very different and are exactly what the name suggests: silent.

    Symptoms include hoarseness, postnasal drip, sinusitis, allergies, asthma, sore throat, trouble swallowing, and cough.

    What is enigmatic chronic cough and how is it related to LPR?

    An enigma is defined as something that is difficult to interpret or understand and very mysterious. An enigmatic chronic cough is when you have a cough that has been present for eight weeks or more, and you are unable to identify and treat what is causing you to be chronically coughing.

    Since LPR causes acid to back-track through your esophagus and into your throat, nasal airway and voice box, chronic coughing is a very common symptom.

    How can you identify if your symptoms represent silent reflux?

    One way is by following a two-week "reflux boot camp."

    For two weeks, limit your acidic food intake; do not drink or eat anything within four hours of bedtime; and avoid processed food, alcohol, energy drinks, coffee, and carbonated beverages.

    What else do you need to know about preventing and treating silent reflux?

    Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of the New York Medical College, Jamie Koufman, MD, shares the difference between silent reflux and acid reflux and the causes of silent reflux. She also explains the two-week boot camp that can help relieve your symptoms of silent reflux.
  • Book Title: The Chronic Cough Enigma: How to Recognize, Diagnose and Treat Neurogenic and Reflux Related Cough
  • Host: Melanie Cole, MS