Reflux Laryngitis (cont.)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
In this Article
- Reflux laryngitis facts
- Why does reflux laryngitis occur?
- What are the typical symptoms of reflux laryngitis?
- How is reflux laryngitis evaluated?
- What are home remedies, OTC medications, and lifestyle changes (diet) that can help reflux?
- What types of medications are used to treat reflux?
- What are the difficulties in diagnosing reflux laryngitis?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
What are the typical symptoms of reflux laryngitis?
Heartburn is the most common symptom associated with reflux. The American College of Gastroenterology estimates that more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month and some studies suggest that more than 15 million people experience heartburn symptoms each day. The incidence of GERD is on the rise, and the rise in obesity is believed to be a contributing factor. In addition to heartburn, reflux severe enough to cause laryngitis can cause chronic hoarseness, asthma, or a foreign body sensation in the throat (globus phenomenon).
How is reflux laryngitis evaluated?
In most patients, the presumptive diagnosis of reflux laryngitis is based on the typical history of heartburn and hoarseness. Testing usually is reserved for those patients who do not respond to conservative therapy (as explained below) or drug therapy. Diagnostic tests includes an:
What are home remedies, OTC medications, and lifestyle changes (diet) that can help reflux?
The treatment of reflux laryngitis is the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux.
- Antacids neutralize stomach acid and give immediate relief. Popular choices include sodium bicarbonate (Alka Seltzer), calcium carbonate (Tums, Rolaids, Alka-Mints), and aluminum and magnesium antacids (Maalox, Mylanta, Riopan, Gaviscon). IUse antacids 30 to 60 minutes after each meal and at bedtime because they are more effective at these times. Patients on a low sodium diet should avoid sodium bicarbonate. Calcium and aluminum can cause constipation, while magnesium antacids can cause diarrhea. Patents with kidney disease should avoid magnesium and aluminum antacids. Patients should check with their pharmacist or doctor for any interactions with other medications they are taking.
- Avoid large meals for dinner.
- Allow several hours after eating before lying down to allow the stomach to empty. Avoid eating after the evening meal and before bedtime.
- Avoid spicy or fried foods, peppermint, citrus, tomatoes, onions, and chocolate, especially if these foods increase symptoms,.
- The diet should be high-protein, high-carbohydrate, and low fat.
- It may be helpful to elevate the head of the bed with wooden blocks under the bedposts to allow gravity to keep the acid in the stomach. Pillows under the head are not helpful though wedges that elevate the head and upper chest are effective.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and tobacco.
- Losing weight reduces reflux.
- Drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), theophylline (Theo-Dur, Respbid, Slo-Bid, Theo-24, Theolair, Uniphyl, Slo-Phyllin), anticholinergics, and calcium channel blockers should be avoided if feasible, but discuss discontinuing any medication with a doctor first.
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