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Acid Reflux & Reflux Treatment

MeLaryngopharyngeal Reflux & Treatment

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) contributes to hoarseness in up to 55% of people with dysphonia (abnormal voice). It can often be difficult to diagnose and is sometimes overlooked when patients do not complain of typical gastroesophageal symptoms such as a burning feeling in the chest that occurs after eating or when lying down at night.  If left untreated, it can significantly disrupt one's life and even lead to the development of throat cancer. 

Do not let LPR disrupt your life, let an LPR specialist in Atlanta give you your voice back. 

What is Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?

Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is the backflow of stomach acid up the esophagus into the throat affecting the larynx (voice box). The tissues in the voice box and throat become irritated by stomach acid and other enzymes, such as pepsin. This results in inflammation and swelling which causes the symptoms associated with LPR. If not managed correctly, LPR is associated with chronic complications and an increased risk of throat cancer.

Symptoms of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

In patients with LPR, the most common symptom is hoarseness. Other symptoms that are commonly seen in LPR include:

  • Frequent throat clearing
  • The feeling of mucus draining into the throat (postnasal drip)
  • Difficulty swallowing or the sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Coughing after lying down or eating
  • Difficulty breathing or frequent choking episodes
  • Frequent sore throats
  • Chronic cough
  • Heartburn or Indigestion

Many of these symptoms are overlooked by other doctors, whereas an LPR specialist in Atlanta can identify even subtle signs of LPR. 

Causes of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

Abnormal functioning of the upper esophagus sphincter, a muscle preventing contents of the esophagus and stomach from reaching the throat, causes LPR. Typically this muscle remains tightly closed except to let swallowed food through, but in LPR, it loosely closes, allowing stomach acid to reflux.

Eating large meals before bed, diets high in acidic or fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol are risk factors for developing LPR. Smoking and being overweight increases the risk of developing LPR. 

Diagnosing Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

An acid reflux specialist in Atlanta uses two different tests to diagnose LPR. The first test is called a laryngoscopy. 

During a laryngoscopy, a view of the larynx (voice box) and other throat anatomy is obtained using a small camera (endoscope). This procedure allows LPR specialists to identify inflammation and swelling caused by the refluxed stomach acid

The second test used is a pH monitor. A small pH monitor is inserted through the nose and records the pH at the top and bottom of the esophagus and the throat for 24 hours. A lower-than-normal pH indicates LPR is occurring. 

Sometimes these tests are unnecessary. See an LPR specialist in Atlanta to determine if one of these procedures can help.

Treatment of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

Initial treatment of LPR aims to decrease activities that increase acid reflux into the esophagus. Eating smaller, more frequent meals that contain limited amounts of fatty and spicy foods. Avoiding food less than two hours before bed can reduce acid reflux. Reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine consumed during the day reduces symptoms of LPR.

For individuals that may be overweight, losing weight can make a big difference in symptoms. Quitting smoking can dramatically improve symptoms as tobacco smoke can have direct effects on the larynx, as well as increasing the reflux of acid. 


In addition to lifestyle changes, medications to reduce acid production from the stomach are the recommended treatment. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most commonly prescribed medication for LPR. A trial using a PPI should be tried to give the voice box and throat a chance to heal. This healing process can take up to six months or more.


Severe cases of LPR that do not respond to medical therapy are treated with a surgical procedure to prevent acid from refluxing into the esophagus. See an LPR doctor in Atlanta to determine if surgery is needed.

Complications of Untreated Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

If not treated, LPR can cause ulcers (sores) and granulomas (nodules) to form on the vocal cords. LPR can also worsen the symptoms of asthma, COPD, and bronchitis. Chronic exposure to acid can damage the throat and voice box and cause scarring, narrowing this area. In addition, chronic irritation can lead to the formation of cancer. 

If you experience any symptoms related to LPR, such as frequent hoarseness, sore throat, excess mucus production, or feelings of something stuck in the throat, see an LPR specialist in Atlanta to help prevent the development of complications. 

Don’t Suffer From Laryngopharyngeal Reflux

LPR can have significant impacts on your quality of life. If you have symptoms or have been diagnosed with LPR, avoiding fatty and spicy foods, alcohol, and tobacco can be a good start to improving your symptoms. Medications are often needed and in rare cases, surgery is needed. Act now to take back your life and voice.

Call our LPR specialist in Atlanta for a consultation and get relief today! Dr. Aaron Fletcher is a board-certified ear, nose, and throat doctor specializing in LPR treatment. 

To schedule an appointment, call our office at 678-902-9495.


The Georgia Center for Ear, Nose, and Throat is more than an advanced sinus treatment facility. We offer a wide array of cosmetic facial rejuvenation procedures. Dr. Aaron Fletcher and his staff are committed to making sure you feel comfortable in each stage of the process. Call and schedule a consultation to learn more about Dr. Fletcher’s brow lift and other facial procedures. Call us at 678.902.9495 or contact us online for your consultation.



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“A very professional and friendly staff. Dr. Fletcher is very detailed and informational in his explanations. His office staff Ashley C Valerie are warm and friendly. They walked my daughter through her tonsils being removed and made it seamless."


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Nothing rushed or ignored. Left with a clear plan of action and follow up in place."

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“Wish I could give this place 10 stars. I've been seeing Dr. Fletcher for over a year about my under eye hollows. He always gets me right and when I came in for a touch-up yesterday, I received exactly what I'm used to. I love that although they were pretty busy, I still felt safe and clean in the office. The staff is friendly and comforting as well. I always look forward to seeing Dr. Fletcher and his team."

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“Dr. Fletcher removed my thyroid. He took excellent care of me pre-op and post-op. Dr Fletcher took the time to answer all the questions that I and my family had. We were all at ease going in to the procedure and recovery has gone smoothly. Dr Fletcher has kept me well informed on my care and condition and I will readily recommend him and his staff for all of their services."

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