Symptoms and complications of silent reflux


Most people will experience heartburn or GER at some point in their lives. When these symptoms occur more frequently and persist, such as twice a week for 3 weeks or more, the condition is more serious. In this instance, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases report that roughly 1 in every 5 Americans have been affected by GERD.

Silent reflux develops when the stomach acid travels all the way back through the food pipe and reaches the back of the throat.

The most common symptoms of LPR in adults include:

  • Feeling like something is stuck in the throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Coughing
  • A bitter taste at back of throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling and irritation of vocal cords
  • Sensation of post-nasal drip
  • Difficulty in breathing

Damage to the vocal cords can result if LPR is not treated in adults.

According to the UK’s National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE), at least 40 percent of infants show some signs of reflux.

While it is common for infants to spit up, problems with breathing and feeding could be signs of something more serious, which should be investigated by a doctor.

The symptoms of silent reflux in infants and children include:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Failure to grow and gain weight
  • Asthma
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Noisy breathing
  • Ear infections
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Turning blue
  • Aspiration
  • Researchers are currently exploring possible links between LPR in children and recurrent ear infections and sinusitis.

    Some worrisome symptoms, such as projectile vomiting or bile, or bloodstained vomit, may not be signs of silent reflux. They could be indications of other health problems and should be reviewed by a doctor.

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