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hoarseness and cough due to silent reflux or LPR

Saturday, July 20, 2013

After more than a month of terrible throat problems, I had to go to an ENT. He diagnosed acid reflux and prescriped generic prilosec. I have done so much research on this and found a good resource for a diet and explanations of my problem in the book Dropping Acid, The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure. . It is LPR or laryngopharyngeal reflux. People with this do not have heartburn and indigestion. (That's what I had in my 50's before I lost weight.) I thought I would let you know what I have found out. Feel free to skip over most of this if you have never experienced any of my symptoms. I will have to change so many of my habits, at least for some time. I have been so miserable for so long, I don't think it will be too hard.

The symptoms for me were hoarseness, the sensation of a lump in the throat, chronic throat clearing, shortness of breath, and cough. For some people they also have post-nasal drip and chest pain. The doctor did not tell me any more than saying I had reflux. Patients with reflux-related chronic cough often see a number of physicians without receiving proper diagnosis and treatment. Reflux-related esophageal cancer (most common in white males) is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. Many people who get cancer of the lungs have never smoked or been around second hand smoke!

First, they recommend that you limit acidic foods and beverages. Then they recommend limiting foods that relax the stomach valve: chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, high fat foods, red meat, fried foods. Third, they recommend limiting foods that increase pressure inside the stomach: carbonated beverages and beer.

The doctor said not to eat 2 hours before bed, but the book recommends 3. Finally, they recommend elevating the head of the bed if you're a nighttime refluxer; that is, if you have symptoms of hoarseness, sore throat and/or cough in the morning. I haven't had the sore throat, but I have the hoarseness and cough.

It also limits artificial sweeteners to a tsp/day! It encourages using fresh ginger, peeled and grated fine. Also, fresh aloe vera(skin removed and diced). I have never had that or seen it in the store. So I will get a plant of my own if I can find one. It has a whole list of red(bad) foods and green(good) foods and several recipes. My love of salsa is also a no no! Red skinned apples are OK, not the green skinned ones. Nectarines and peaches are not good either, and I just bought some. No peppermint. One glass of wine is all and not good unless it's 3 hours before bedtime. So that means I can go to the wine tastings, but probably shouldn't keep much wine at home. I need to avoid salty foods before bed and to avoid high fat nuts(peanut butter). These are all things I was indulging in recently. (Not the peppermint, but chewing sugarless spearmint gum.)

I want to get off the prilosec because it might affect my osteopenia.

None of the anti-reflux medications turn off acid completely. While I am better, I now realize the cure isn't just taking the pills. I'm glad the book contains some recipes to explore.

If anyone has had this happen to them, please let me know.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANDOK1260 7/28/2013 9:29PM

    yep i have as this in fact it cause me to lose most of my voice for long period at a time

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GLORIAMAJDI 7/28/2013 12:00AM

    I had severe acid reflux since I was a small child....including all of the symptoms you describe and worse....asthma, choking on reflux day or night. My gastro doctor was concerned about about esophageal cancer, aspiration pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis. For years I took either Acifex (prescription) or Prevacid...none of the meds really worked but those two seemed to relieve the symptoms somewhat. Finally last year I had surgery for this, called Nissen Fundoplication. Wow, I have never felt better! I wish you the best as you work through this and I hope that the changes that you are making will alleviate your symptoms and you can get off the Prilosec. It also impairs other vitamin absorption so make sure to ask you doctor to check to make sure you are getting enough of the other vitamins (besides D and calcium, you want to make sure you are getting enough B12 for one). Best wishes to you!

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LLREED 7/21/2013 10:25AM

    I've had some of these symptoms, too but have not been to a dr. about them and I'm not on any OTC meds. I've actually found that half a tsp. of baking soda in a glass of water clears up a lot of the symptoms. Just a thought.
Lisa

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CAROLYN0107 7/21/2013 8:52AM

    I have acid reflux into my throat because of a hiatal hernia. I've had it for years. I sleep with the head of my bed up on blocks or books. I am not supposed to eat before bedtime. I've been on Prilosec for over 5 years and I had osteoporosis which changed to osteopenia but with my knee break last year I'm sure it is osteoporosis again. One tip I have for you is to take Calcium Citrate and not other Calciums because the Calcium Citrate can be better absorbed while taking Prilosec. Other calciums do not absorb well. I have the osteoporosis because of having to take medicine for Asthma. My asthma is sometimes worsened because of reflux. Everything seems related. My worse trigger food for my reflux is citrus fruits. I LOVE orange juice but I have stopped drinking o.j. because it causes bad reflux. Keep SPARKING!

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ALIHIKES 7/20/2013 10:54PM

    I have had the same problems with coughing hoarseness and other GERD symptoms. I took Prilosec for over 10 years and now am stopping due to osteopenia. The diet changes are not easy!

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EXOTEC 7/20/2013 8:27PM

    GERD is one of several symptoms associated with my scleroderma. I struggled with the reflux for quite a while, and took several of the recommended meds for it (Prilosec™ included). None of them worked for long, unfortunately. It does help to not be horizontal during sleep. The biggest help for me has been in changing what and the way I eat, as you're discovering. The last true "med" I'm on which does help is a liquid/suspension called "Carafate™" (gen: sucralfate). You might enquire of your gastroenterologist whether it might be useful for you. I don't have to take it regularly now, only when I get that burn. It works more like a "Band-Aid" for me now... but it works, at least.

I did some searching on the topic of acid reflux, and from what I found, it's actually a *reduced* acid production combined with mechanical backpressure on the esophageal-gastric sphincter. Some treatments actually are aimed at increasing gastric acids, which sounds crazy to me, since it was always that acidy "burn" that was my primary complaint. Maybe there's different forms. I wouldn't be surprised.

Sorry to hear of your trouble, but it's good to have a plan of action to take, anyway. Luck to you in controlling it!

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KERRYG155 7/20/2013 7:13PM

    I do have acid reflux with a lot of those symptoms. I had a swallow test because of that feeling of a lump and yesterday saw the ENT. He did tell me to not eat 2 hours before bedtime and to use the wedge pillow which I know is going to be hard. I will probably need to find a strap to keep my mouth closed so I won't have the horribly dry mouth. I am on a prescription from my primary so the ENT told me to take 2 Tums 30 min after eating. I still need to get to the store for that. Good luck!

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