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Laryngopharyngeal Reflux is caused by the backwards flow of digestive juices up from the stomach, through the esophagus and  into the throat. These juices contain acid and enzymes that can injure the throat because it lacks the resistance of tissues in the digestive tract. LPR can be difficult to recognize because most people do not have associated heartburn or stomach discomfort.

It is now being increasingly recognized and linked to other disorders including chronic fluid in the ears and sinus infections and nasal congestion. Many symptoms thought to be related to allergy are probably in fact caused or mimicked  by laryngopharyngeal reflux. Typical symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux are chronic cough,  post-nasal drip, throat clearing, liquid or water in the throat, a sour taste in the mouth, a foreign body sensation in the throat, hoarseness and  voice weakness or cracking. Again, the majority of people do not have heartburn or indigestion, hence the name "silent acid reflux".

New evidence has also linked LPR to chronic nasal congestion, chronic sinus infection, ear infections, fluid in the ears and even throat cancers. Some researchers have also found an association with tooth decay. In any event,  it is an extremely common condition that in some studies, is estimated to affect up to thirty per cent of the population. The cause is thought to be related to a weak valve (sphincter) in the upper esophagus, but it can also be worsened by a leaky valve between the stomach and the lower esophagus. This usually accompanies a hiatal hernia, a condition where the stomach valve has slid above the diaphragm and is unable to completely close.

Non-medical treatment may be as simple as avoiding caffeine, chocolate, cinnamon  or carbonated beverages, sleeping elevated and avoiding food two hours before bedtime. Other people with more persistent symptoms require medication to turn off acid production, usually in doses that are higher than what is used to treat common "heartburn". LPR has also been associated with colic in infants and should be sought as a cause of treatment failure of sinus infections.