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Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a condition in which acid from the stomach affects the voice box and throat. Similar to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – which affects the esophagus and typically causes heartburn – symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux include:

  • Sore, dry, or scratchy throat
  • Sensation of mucus or phlegm in throat
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Dry chronic cough
  • Hoarse voice (especially in the morning)

While GERD and LPR are similar, each condition may occur simultaneously with or independently from one other.

Diagnosing Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

After taking a comprehensive patient history, your doctor will typically look for signs of reflux which may include:

  • Redness or swelling in the back of the voice box
  • Vocal cord pseudo-sulcus (a certain pattern of swelling on the vocal cords)
  • Thick mucus secretions clinging to the vocal cords

To confirm laryngopharyngeal reflux, some patients choose to have a pharyngeal pH probe – a thin wire which secures behind the ear, enters through the nose, and sits in the back of the throat. The probe will measure the acid level in the throat over a 24-hour period and will confirm the presence of abnormal acid levels.

Laryngopharyngeal (LPR) Reflux Treatment

Laryngopharyngeal (LPR) reflux treatment often includes anatacid medication. LPR can also be treated by making lifestyle changes, including:

  • Limiting acidic foods
  • Limiting food consumption just before bedtime
  • Limiting caffeine, carbonation, and alcohol

Make an Appointment

Contact the Johns Hopkins Voice Center by calling 443-997-6467 (443-997-OHNS).