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Silent Acid Reflux

Silent Acid Reflux

The term reflux indicates 'flowing back' in layman's terms. In case of silent acid reflux, the contents of the stomach flow back to the throat, and you are completely unaware of it. This article educates you about this disorder, its causes, symptoms, and remedies.
Amruta Deshpande
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Diagnosis of any disease is based on the prevalent symptoms associated with that particular disease. The symptoms help in the identification and effective treatment of the condition. But what about the diseases that have no symptoms at all? How are they diagnosed and treated? One such condition is 'silent acid reflux'. It has no specific symptoms, and hence, it is difficult to diagnose. Many people suffering from this disease are not even aware of it, and they realize it, when the condition becomes too severe.
Vital Information
  • Acid reflux is a condition where the contents of the stomach travel back in the throat through the esophagus.
  • Its common symptoms are heartburn and indigestion.
  • However, sometimes, this condition may rarely have any symptoms, and it becomes very difficult to know if the person is suffering from any acid problem.
  • This condition is referred to as silent acid reflux. The word silent is used to indicate vague or complete absence of symptoms like heartburn.
  • This condition may also be known by the term laryngopharyngeal reflux, which refers to the back flow of stomach acid not only up the esophagus, but all the way up to the larynx or the pharynx.
Causes
Here are some of the common causes:
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Fried Foods
  • Caffeine
  • Heavy meals
  • Red meat
  • Dairy products
  • Tight clothing
  • Obesity
  • Hiatal hernia
Symptoms
This condition arises, when there is something wrong with the sphincter muscles, and they do not function normally. There are two sets of sphincter muscles that allow food and drink to pass into the stomach and prevent the back flow. When the lower set of muscles fail to do their job well, the stomach contents pass into the lower esophagus. However, as the lower esophagus is not very sensitive to stomach acids, it does not cause heartburn, which is a common symptom associated with this disorder. But a different set of symptoms may be observed, which are as follows:
  • Irritation in the throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Choking sensation
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Lump in the throat sensation
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Sinus problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Excessive snoring
Symptoms in Infants
Children and infants are often seen suffering from this condition, and it is extremely difficult to diagnose the condition in case of infants. The digestive juices come up through the esophagus in babies, but instead of spitting out, they are swallowed down back into the stomach. This allows the stomach acids to spend more time in the esophagus, where they can damage the inner lining and the digestive tract. Hence, children with these problems must be taken to the specialist immediately for pH-metry and other tests. Some of the symptoms are
  • Sudden burst of crying
  • Frequent hiccups
  • Persistent cough
  • Sour breath
  • Poor feeding habits
  • Blood in the stool or spit up
  • Poor sleeping habits
Remedies
  • There are several remedies that work similarly for both disorders.
  • The best remedy is to identify and cut down on the foods that trigger the condition.
  • Smoking and excessive intake of alcohol and caffeine can permanently damage your throat, and hence, they should be avoided.
  • Change in lifestyle and diet can be more effective than the medications.
  • Surgery may be needed for people in case of severity to prevent permanent damage to the voice box.
So, if you observe any of the above symptoms, consult your physician immediately; and get the condition treated, as it can lead to permanent damage of the throat, voice box, and the esophagus.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.