Health & Fitness

PART I – Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (Silent Reflux)

Late November 2017 I was diagnosed with Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (Silent Reflux).

A month prior I was hit with the flu and conjunctivitis and took nearly a week and a half to recover. Even went as far to go to a walk-in clinic and receive medication to help clear up the conjunctivitis and other antibiotics. When this came on I was having the usual symptoms of the flu but also having other issues that were more prevalent after the fact. For instance, had this harsh nagging cough that just would NOT go away, often times it would ramp up to the point that every morning I was spitting up sputum. Just grosssss……. I thought it had progressed into an upper respiratory infection and was taking Robitussin Cold + Cough for quite a long time because it would provide some temporary relief in my breathing, as if it would help clear my lungs a bit.

However I felt as if I was having other issues that were happening all too often:

  • constant lump in my throat that would not go away (thinking I had post-nasal drip all day)
  • often dry and sore throat most mornings
  • feeling like I could not get enough air in to breath
  • trouble swallowing food, choking sensation

So my mom suggested that I schedule and see an ENT for the multiple issues I kept complaining about. So I went to see Dr. Cathy D. Chong M.D., MPH

I went in prepared with an itemized sheet detailing everything that I could think of that that I would experience, no matter how silly it sounded. As soon as I started reading off the list of symptoms I was experiencing she immediately could identify what these common issues were related to but to be very accurate in her assessment she would need to get an instrument. I was a bit terrified when she left the room for a moment and came back with this snake like tool. She said this was a quick procedure to run this hose up through my nose and into my nasal cavity and down the back of my throat. It would take no longer than about 40 seconds on each side, I was very hesitant and scared looking at this thing.

However in order to calm me down, she showed me the flexible scope with a camera on one side and what she would see through it. Before she would slide this device up she sprayed an anesthetic up my nose. My heart was racing because I really could not back out at this point in time. As she examined me she said that my nasal cavity did not show any signs of inflammation however when she peered down that back of my throat she could identify that it was a showing inflammation.

After she removed the device she then proceeded to ask what my diet was like (I was wondering what on earth this had to do with what was going on) as she knew I had already lost a lot of weight and was eating somewhat healthy. Some key things she honed in on was with beverages I was consuming, that being caffeinated tea. Raw onions, tomatoes and spicy things were also in my diet that were also at play. Then she asked if I ever felt any pressure or burning sensation in my chest before. None that I could recollect was my answer, that’s when she proceeded to tell me that I may be experiencing Silent Acid Reflux.

She informed me that I would be placed on Ranitidine (one tablet in the morning/night) for three months as well as use a nasal spray similar to FLONASE as I might have a seasonal allergies. In addition would need to clean up my diet further and remove these trigger foods she questioned me about to find relief. Was to go back 2-months later to see how the medication was helping.

During my follow-up visit I had explained that my symptoms have considerably decreased quite a bit. She thought this was great news and was going to take me off Ranitidine slowly to see how diet alone was working. She said as long as I followed a much more healthier diet I would be much better. She indicated that I no longer needed to follow-up with her again unless symptoms got noticeably worse. Other advice given was that if I knew ahead of time that I was going to make bad food choices that could cause reflux, to take Zantac well before then as a preventative.

She hit the nail on the head and identified this issue with me and I started my journey further looking into this terrible disease.

I am hoping this post might be a useful read for anyone that may experience some of these thing. If you have these these similar symptoms get to an ENT, or General Otolaryngologist.

[UPDATE] So as of 2022 I recently found out that my acid reflux is actually hereditary. Have so many uncles and cousins on one side of the family who actually have this issue. From a few that I am aware of they take the route of using PPI’s to control their symptoms. Based off my experience, I am rather trying to dealing with it through better control of diet.

PART 2 – Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (Silent Reflux)
PART 3 – Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (Silent Reflux)

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