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Silent Reflux: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Silent Reflux: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Silent Reflux

What is Silent Reflux?

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a condition that causes stomach acid to flow back up into the throat. You may have heard it as “silent reflux” because it does not cause typical acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn. (x) (x) But it can cause damage to your throat and vocal cords. Water, enzymes, hydrochloric acid, mucus, electrolytes and intrinsic factors make up stomach acid. These substances cause irritation, burning and discomfort in your throat when the acid meets the food pipe and vocal cords. (x) (x)

LPR is a manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) characterized by chest pain from reflux flowing from the stomach to the esophagus. But LPR causes reflux in the throat and vocal cords specifically. Some people experience both LPR and GERD together, but LPR rarely causes heartburn related to GERD. (x)

Silent Reflux Symptoms

Silent reflux symptoms focus inside your throat. It affects both adults and infants, but the symptoms differ between them. Symptoms of LPR in adults include: (x) (x)

  • Hoarse voice
  • Chronic cough
  • Feeling a lump in the throat
  • Repeatedly clearing the throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Feeling excess mucus in the throat
  • Sore throat
  • Bitter taste in the throat
  • Swollen, irritated vocal cords
  • Silent reflux symptoms in infants or children include: (x) (x)
  • Hoarse voice
  • Chronic cough
  • Noisy, uneven breathing
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Difficulty eating
  • Refusing to eat
  • Inhaling food particles or spitting up food
  • Gagging and choking after eating

Infants with Silent Reflux

Infants experiencing silent reflux often arch their backs in discomfort while they eat. They may also cry in pain when they lie on their backs, especially after feeding

Causes of Silent Reflux

Silent reflux comes from physical complications and lifestyle factors. For example, it can result from a faulty sphincter, which is a muscle that separates the stomach and the esophagus. The primary function of the sphincter is to keep stomach contents where they should be — in the stomach — by staying closed unless you are swallowing food. But in silent reflux, the sphincter does not close, forcing stomach contents back up into the throat and voice box. (x) (x) (x) It can also result from a hiatal hernia, from esophageal spasms or if the stomach empties slowly. (x) (x)

Children may develop silent reflux for the same reasons as adults, or it may result from growth or developmental issues. Infants commonly experience reflux because their food is primarily liquid, they are lying down most of the time, and the sphincter is less developed than an adult. (x)

Risk Factors for Silent Reflux

Silent reflux affects people of all ages. However, it is more likely to affect you more if you overeat, smoke or frequently drink alcohol and soda and eat spicy and fatty food. Other risk factors include weight, stress and tight clothing. (x) (x) Research also considers gender as a factor. One study discovered that males experienced silent reflux more often than women. Also, if your body has a higher body mass index. (x)

Complications of Silent Reflux

Although it’s rare, silent reflux can cause stomach acids to accumulate in the throat and larynx. If not treated may lead to long-term damage and complications. (x)

Children can experience breathing problems, esophagitis, esophageal bleeding and difficulty swallowing from scar tissue in the esophagus. (x) (x) Adults can develop lung disorders, chronic cough and oral cavity disorders. You can also experience recurrent pneumonia and laryngitis. (x) Reflux also increases the risk of esophageal cancer. (x)

Silent Reflux Diagnosis

To diagnose silent reflux, doctors perform a physical exam and examine your medical history. They also run tests, including pH monitoring or an endoscopy. In an endoscopic exam, doctors attach a small camera to a tube and pass it through your mouth to view the vocal cords and throat. (x) (x) A pH monitor records the pH in the esophagus for 24 hours. (x) (x)

Silent Reflux Symptoms

Silent Reflux Treatment

To treat silent reflux, doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or, in rare cases, surgery. (x) Some basic treatments include: 

  1. Medication

Doctors may prescribe you medications to treat silent reflux symptoms, such as antacids, proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers. (x) Antacids keep stomach acid from the throat, while proton pump inhibitors reduce acidity in the stomach. H2 blockers are a form of antihistamine that can reduce coughing. (x)

  1. Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes include maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking, alcohol and tight clothing. You should also eat slowly and eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. It is more beneficial to consume three to four small meals instead of two to three large ones. 

Certain products may also trigger the condition, such as mint, chocolate, caffeine, red wine, carbonated drinks and spicy foods. Avoiding these products may prevent and relieve silent reflux symptoms. 

Doctors also advise against eating too close to bedtime and recommend meals at least three hours before going to bed. Chewing gum can also be an effective treatment because it stimulates saliva secretion and neutralizes acids. (x) Managing your stress and anxiety can also help handle and prevent the condition. (x) (x)

  1. Surgery

Although, mostly likely, you will respond well to medication and lifestyle modifications, you may require surgery. The surgical treatment for silent reflux is fundoplication, which tightens the sphincter — the muscle separating the esophagus and the stomach. (x) (x) The research concludes that fundoplication is an effective treatment for most symptoms of silent reflux. (x)

Silent Reflux Treatment for Infants and Children

To manage silent reflux in children, parents should feed their babies small amounts of food more frequently and keep them upright for at least half an hour after eating. Doctors also suggest thickening formula or breast milk with a tablespoon of oat cereal. As a parent, you need to remember that although some cases need medication or surgery for treatment, most cases of silent reflux will resolve on their own. (x) (x)

Supplements for Silent Reflux

Taking supplements for silent reflux will benefit you in the long run as you also change your lifestyle to handle the health concern. Establish that it’s okay to start a new supplement with your physician before beginning any supplement. Some to consider:

  1. Fennel Powder

Fennel Powder is an excellent antioxidant that supports digestive and urinary tract health. Studies show eating fennel seeds or taking the extract is a healthy choice. Traditional medicine has used fennel for many ailments, from your digestive system to the respiratory system. The extract even helps with generating breastmilk. It contains valuable compounds, such as phenolic, flavonoids, amino acids and fatty acids. (x) The recommended intake amount for fennel powder is 1,000 mg up to two times per day.

  1. Aloe Vera Extract Powder

Aloe vera extract powder comes from the aloe vera plant that promotes skin health and immune health. It also helps minimize symptoms of silent reflux. (x) (x) The recommended safe serving size is 1,000 mg once per day with water.

  1. Licorice Root Extract Powder

Originating from the Mediterranean, licorice root promotes digestion and relieves cough and headache. It is also known for its immune-boosting properties. Licorice contains Glycyrrhizae Radix used in Chinese medicine for the digestive system among other health concerns. (x) (x) Studies also show that since ancient times roasted licorice soothes sore throat and helps with digestion. (x)  The healthy serving size for this supplement is 600 mg per day.

  1. Chamomile Extract Powder 

Substantial documentation recommends Chamomile extract powder as an excellent supplement for supporting your digestive system, thus helping with silent reflux. (xChamomile also helps to ease anxiety and inflammation. (x) The recommended serving size is 800 mg once or twice per day with water.

  1. Melatonin Powder

This product is an excellent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Melatonin is a natural sleep aid used to help manage insomnia, which makes it a perfect choice for people who struggle to sleep because of silent reflux. It also supports digestive (x) and cardiac health. The suggested intake is 1 to 3 mg, only before bedtime. Melatonin is potent, so do not exceed the recommended dosage and avoid driving after taking it.

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  1. Magnesium Citrate Powder

Known for its energy-boosting properties, this supplement has positive effects on bone, cardiac and digestive health. It is a mild laxative that may help minimize abdominal discomfort. The safe serving size for magnesium citrate powder is between 1,662 and 3,325 mg daily, mixed with a drink. For the best results, take it with calcium in a 1:2 ratio.

  1. L-Glutamine Powder

With energy-boosting properties that promote athletic endurance, L-glutamine also supports cardiac and digestive health. The powder also helps your body from toxicity and esophagus complications if you undergo chemotherapy for treating cancer. (x) The healthy serving size for L-Glutamine is 1,000 mg up to three times per day, either an hour before a meal or three hours after.

  1. Other Helpful Extract Powders 

Studies show extract powders like ginger, peppermint, aniseed, dandelion, citrus fruits, artichoke and lemon balm (melissa). All these extracts help your digestive system backed by clinical data.  

Where to Buy Supplements for Silent Reflux?

You can purchase these supplements for Silent Reflux at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor of pure dietary supplements. 

BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other food and supplement brands to make their products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.

Are you interested in trying any of these supplements mentioned in this article as a possible solution to helping you with Silent Reflux? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.

The Bottom Line

Laryngopharyngeal reflux, commonly known as silent reflux, causes stomach acid to flow back up into the throat. It causes discomfort, irritation and burning in the throat.

Common symptoms of silent reflux in adults include difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, hoarseness and feeling a lump or excess mucus in the throat. 

Children and infants have trouble eating and gaining weight and gag or choke after meals. They may also refuse to eat and cry when they lie on their backs. Fortunately, silent reflux is preventable and treatable with specific lifestyle changes, antibiotics or surgery in rare cases.

Consider taking the above supplements to help with any symptoms and check with your healthcare provider before starting any vitamin or supplemental program.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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