How to Treat Silent Reflux Naturally
Published May 29, 2023
Silent reflux, commonly known as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) or acid reflux, is a condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the throat and larynx (voice box). Unlike typical acid reflux, silent reflux often does not cause the characteristic heartburn sensation. A book named “How I Cured My Silent Reflux” was even made to tackle this condition. By far, the most common gastrointestinal disorder is acid reflux.
The absence of heartburn, a common symptom of traditional acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), makes silent reflux challenging to identify. In addition, individuals with silent reflux may experience a range of symptoms, including hoarseness, chronic cough, and difficulty swallowing.
Causes of Silent Reflux
Diagnosing silent reflux can be challenging and often goes unnoticed, leading to potential complications if left untreated. And by understanding the causes and risk factors associated with silent reflux, you can take proactive steps to prevent and manage the condition effectively.
Diet and Lifestyle Choices
Some dietary and lifestyle choices can trigger silent reflux episodes. A good example is consuming acidic or spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine, and carbonated beverages can irritate the esophagus and worsen symptoms. Additionally, eating large meals, lying down immediately after eating, and wearing tight clothing around the waist can increase the likelihood of silent reflux.
Obesity and Smoking
Obesity is a significant risk factor for silent reflux. Excess body weight can pressure the stomach, increasing gastric acid reflux. Meanwhile, smoking weakens the LES and increases the production of stomach acid, making it easier for acid to flow back into the throat and larynx. Long-term smoking can also damage the protective lining of the esophagus, further aggravating silent reflux symptoms.
Lower Esophageal Sphincter Issues
A muscular ring separates the esophagus and stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Its primary function is to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. When the LES fails to function correctly, it can result in silent reflux. Weakness or relaxation of the LES can be caused by factors such as obesity, smoking, and certain medications.
A hiatal hernia happens when a part of the stomach pushes into the chest cavity through the diaphragm. This anatomical abnormality can weaken the LES and contribute to silent reflux. Hiatal hernias are often associated with age, smoking, and obesity.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to silent reflux due to hormonal changes and increased abdominal pressure caused by the enlarging of the uterus. The pressure can force stomach acid into the esophagus, leading to reflux symptoms.
Other factors that can develop silent reflux include:
- Respiratory conditions
- Certain medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Symptoms of Silent Reflux
Recognizing the silent reflux symptoms is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. Although silent reflux does not typically cause heartburn, it may manifest through other signs, such as:
- Throat Irritation: Persistent throat clearing, chronic cough, hoarseness, or a feeling of a lump in the throat can be indicators of silent reflux.
- Sore Throat: The constant exposure of the throat to stomach acid can result in a sore and irritated throat. In addition, a recurring sore throat that doesn’t respond to typical treatments may indicate silent reflux.
- Difficulty Swallowing: Silent reflux can lead to a sensation of difficulty or pain while swallowing, known as dysphagia.
- Postnasal Drip: Excess mucus production caused by silent reflux can lead to postnasal drip, causing a constant need to clear the throat.
- Chronic Sinusitis: Silent reflux can contribute to chronic sinus problems, leading to congestion, sinus pain, and pressure. Further, excess mucus production caused by silent reflux can lead to postnasal drip, causing a constant need to clear the throat.
How to Treat Silent Reflux Naturally
While medical intervention may be necessary for severe cases of silent reflux, many individuals can find relief through natural remedies and lifestyle modifications. These approaches aim to reduce acid reflux and soothe the throat.
Making changes to your diet can significantly alleviate silent reflux symptoms. Avoiding trigger foods such as citrus fruits, spicy foods, caffeine, and carbonated beverages can help minimize acid production. Opting for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains is advisable.
Certain lifestyle habits can contribute to silent reflux, and positive changes can significantly improve symptoms. Consider implementing the following:
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Excess weight puts pressure on the stomach, which can cause acid to flow back up into the throat. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can reduce the risk of silent reflux.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can worsen silent reflux symptoms. Practicing stress management techniques can help reduce acid reflux episodes.
Elevating the Head During Sleep
Elevating the head of your bed by using a wedge pillow or raising the mattress can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back up into the throat while you sleep.
Avoiding Trigger Foods and Beverages
Certain foods and beverages can trigger silent reflux symptoms. Common triggers include spicy foods, fatty foods, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
Practicing Good Posture
Maintaining a good posture while sitting or standing helps keep the stomach acid from flowing up.
Chewing Gum for Relief
Chewing sugar-free gum after meals stimulates saliva production, which can help neutralize stomach acid and relieve silent reflux symptoms.
Drinking Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera has soothing properties and can help reduce inflammation in the esophagus.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Alleviating Symptoms
Despite its acidic nature, apple cider vinegar can help balance stomach acid levels. Mix one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drink it before meals to aid digestion and reduce reflux.
Staying hydrated helps dilute stomach acid and promote healthy digestion. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and support optimal digestion.
Regular Exercise for Digestive Health
Regular physical activity can help improve digestion and reduce silent reflux symptoms.
Silent reflux, or LPR, can be managed effectively through natural remedies and lifestyle adjustments. By making dietary modifications, implementing healthy habits, and trying home remedies, individuals with silent reflux can experience relief from symptoms. However, consulting a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized silent reflux treatment plan is important.
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This Content Has Been Reviewed For Factual Accuracy
About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She started her career as a content writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.