Reflux can be a silent killer. Silent reflux, or laryngopharyngeal reflux, is a condition where the stomach acid backflows into the chest and throat.

If you’ve ever felt tightness in your chest, throat, or vocal chords after eating, that might have been silent reflux. If left unattended, silent reflux can cause severe damage to your throat and esophageal and even cause cancer.

This condition is completely treatable, but occurs in overweight adults and infants and slowly causes chronic inflammation.

Diagnosing and Detecting Silent Reflux

The main cause of silent reflux is the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that leads to the backflow of stomach acids into areas it shouldn’t be.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Hoarseness in throat
  • Needing to clear your throat a lot
  • Coughing
  • Noisy breathing
  • Bitter or vile taste at back of mouth
  • Sensation that something is stuck in your throat
  • Breathing problems
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Voice changes due to swelling of the vocal chords

These symptoms can rise anytime, up to 2 hours after having a meal. Lying down after eating is also an immediate test to find out if you have a weakened LES as it usually results in immediate reflux.

This condition is aggravated or caused by any of the following:

  • Hiatal hernias
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Eating spicy or fatty foods
  • Delayed gastric emptying
  • Overeating in a single session
  • Speaking loudly during a meal