Does your doctor say your sore throat is “Acid reflux”?
Of late, you may have noticed a need to clear the throat often, a feeling that something is trickling down the throat; or a hoarseness of the voice especially when you wake up. Some persons describe a sensation of a lump in the throat, difficulty in swallowing or a recurrent sore throat. Those persons who sing have reported a prolonged time for the vocal warm-up, or a loss of the high end of the vocal range
When the throat of such persons is examined by specialists of the ear, nose & throat; they often can show a swelling of the structures around the voice box (larynx) and may tell you that you have vocal cord edema (red and irritated vocal cords), nodules, etc.
If there is no local cause for the symptoms, the specialists tell you that this could be due to reflux of acid from the stomach. The injury, they say, is due to the acid from your stomach reaching the back of your throat to injure your larynx; & is thus called LPR – Laryngopharyngeal Reflux.
You may never have felt any symptoms typical of “acidity”, like burning in the chest or indigestion (only 6% patients have both, burning in the chest as well as symptoms of the throat). Thus this problem is often called “silent reflux”. Because the larynx and pharynx have no defense mechanisms to these substances, reflux even as little as two times per week can have significant effects on the voice.
Treating this condition is the same as treating any acidity; using PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). You may find you either keep needing medication to remain well, take unusually long to get relief; or do not get well at all. That may well be the time to confirm what your doctor suspected all along.
The test that actually confirms that acid is refluxing is called 24 Hour pHmetry. This involves placing a small tube through your nose and down into your esophagus. The catheter is worn for a 24-hour period and measures the amount of acid that refluxes into your throat.
This test will provide the critical information needed to confirm the diagnosis; especially if you do not respond to medication and your doctor is considering advising “anti-reflux surgery” for a longer hasting cure.
24 Hour pHmetry as well as Esophageal Manometry are now available at Ruby Hall Clinic at Wanowarie, with the Department of Gastroenterology. pH monitoring, which involves placing a small catheter through the nose and into the throat and esophagus; here, sensors detect acid, and a small computer worn at the waist records findings during a 24-hour period. It would be better to have the doctor go over your records, so a convenient date could be selected for you to stay for a day to complete the test. You may call on and take an appointment to meet the doctor and know more about the test.