Acid reflux is a common condition that doesn’t pose a serious concern until it turns into a frequent problem or causes a vocal cord disorder. The exceptional team at ENT Specialists in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah, treats acid reflux and its more serious forms, gastroesophageal reflux disease and laryngopharyngeal reflux disease. They also specialize in personalized care for vocal cord disorders caused by acid reflux. If you have questions about acid reflux or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call one of the offices or use the online booking feature.
The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth into your stomach. Where the tube meets the stomach, a round muscle, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), opens to let food enter the stomach and closes to prevent food and stomach acids from getting out.
Acid reflux occurs when a weak or damaged LES lets the stomach contents, including strong acids, reflux (flow back) into the esophagus.
Acid reflux is an occasional problem that usually responds well to over-the-counter antacids. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a persistent and more severe form of acid reflux that occurs more than twice a week and doesn’t improve with antacids.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD) occurs when the acid reflux makes it all the way up your esophagus and into the back of your throat.
Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux, GERD, and LPRD. However, you also experience problems such as:
When acid reflux goes untreated, the stomach acid can damage your esophagus, leading to scar tissue that narrows the opening, an ulcer in the esophagus, and precancerous changes in the esophageal tissues.
When stomach acid reaches your throat, it irritates the vocal cords or vocal folds. As a result, the vocal cords become swollen and inflamed, a condition called laryngitis.
Acid reflux may also trigger a sudden vocal cord spasm. When the muscles spasm, it’s temporarily hard to speak or breathe, but the problem disappears in a few minutes.
The first line of treatment for acid reflux consists of medications such as antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. Your provider at ENT Specialists also helps you learn about foods that trigger acid reflux and lifestyle changes that lower your risk for recurrent episodes.
If acid reflux causes a vocal cord disorder, your provider at ENT Specialists creates a customized plan to treat that problem. However, the only long-term solution for vocal cord inflammation is to cure your acid reflux.
When your acid reflux persists despite medication, you may need anti-reflux surgery, such as LINX® Reflux Management System, gastric fundoplication, or transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF).
All three surgeries are minimally invasive procedures that use different techniques to strengthen and support the LES.
If you have ongoing heartburn, call ENT Specialists or schedule an appointment online.