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Article Summary:

SinChew Daily – 24th March 2022

Doctor’s Words:

Many people may confuse throat reflux and stomach acid reflux, because the symptoms are both caused by stomach acid problems. The former is stomach acid that causes phlegm and discomfort in the throat, while the latter is stomach acid that causes patients to feel burning in the chest and burping during meals.

 

“Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) refers to the symptoms caused by the retrograde flow of gastric acid into the throat. Typical symptoms of throat reflux include hoarseness, foreign body sensation in the throat, mild dysphagia, chronic cough, repeated throat clearing, etc. Severe cases may cause unexplained weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, getting tired easily and difficulty swallowing.

Patients feel that there is a foreign body in the throat for no reason, and they try to swallow in attempt to clear the sensation. These symptoms are called globus pharyngeus.

 

Dissimilar to Throat Cancer Where Food Can’t be Swallowed 

Stomach acid invades the oesophagus and causes throat reflux, causing swelling and inflammation of the throat. Once the cells in the oesophagus become diseased, Barrett’s oesophagus can be induced. People with Barrett’s oesophagus have a 10% chance of developing oesophageal cancer, so throat reflux is the cause of oesophageal cancer.

Whenever a patient feels a foreign body in the throat, they are afraid of developing cancer, especially throat cancer, but if so, the patient cannot eat at all. As for the patient with acid reflux in the throat, they only feel that there is a foreign body in the throat, but at least they can eat. Doctors also use, flexible nasopharyngoscopy to diagnose acid reflux in the patient’s throat to rule out laryngeal cancer.

After endoscopy, it is found that if the throat of patients with throat reflux is very swollen due to the burning of stomach acid, the doctor will use acid-suppressing drugs to control the disease for 2 to 4 weeks.

 

<0.5% requires surgery

In general, Dr Raymond will give patients the first type of drug first, and then second and third drugs depending on the condition. It is emphasized here that although these drugs have no dangerous side effects and can also be purchased in pharmacies, do not be your own doctor, thinking that these drugs are suitable for you. A doctor should diagnose you before purchasing the drugs.

However, the failure of medical therapy in patients is due in part to weakness of the lower oesophageal sphincter or a hiatus hernia. These patients require Nissen’s fundoplication to improve symptoms of acid reflux. This procedure is the specialty of gastroenterologists, and doctors will also refer patients to gastroenterology. These cases are very rare, and less than 0.5% of patients with throat reflux require this procedure.

 

Pay attention to “SOS” don’t eat too late

Sleeping immediately after a meal will slow down gastrointestinal motility and reduce gastric acid secretion, which will easily lead to insufficient digestion and absorption of food, and increase the pressure in the stomach after eating. If you lie down immediately, it will increase the chance of gastroesophageal reflux.

 

X Spicy Food, X Tight Clothes, X Excessive Vitamin C

Many people will order spicy soup base when they eat hot pot. However, if the spiciness is too strong, it will easily stimulate the oesophagus and stomach to secrete too much stomach acid, which will induce reflux in the throat.

In addition, patients should also avoid wearing tight clothing, which will directly compress the digestive system, especially the connecting tube between the stomach and oesophagus, which will cause the stomach acid to be stimulated and rush upwards, damaging the oesophageal mucosa.

Some people habitually consume vitamin C as a supplement, but vitamin C is acidic. Excessive intake will stimulate excessive secretion of gastric acid and cause gastric acid reflux. Therefore, for patients with gastric acid problems, I would recommend taking vitamin C after meals.

 

Eating while hot is prone to oesophageal cancer

When some people face stress, their stomach will be tense and produce stomach acid. Therefore, these people need to find ways to decompress and relax to avoid increasing the burden on the stomach.

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