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Laringopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

Laringopharyngeal Reflux (LPR): Can Stretta Help?


“Acid reflux” refers to a general condition in which stomach fluids splash into the lower end of the esophagus and cause irritation and pain. But some forms of reflux are more intense than others, some occur for different reasons, some are chronic and reoccur over and over until they’re treated, and some forms of reflux respond to treatment better than others. In some cases, acid reflux causes different types of symptoms which can vary from person to person. Laringopharyngeal reflux is one of these specific symptoms. 

What is laringopharyneal reflux, and why is it special?

Not all forms of acid reflux bring the acids from the stomach so far up the esophagus that they reach the throat and larynx (voice box).  For the acids to travel so far that they cause hoarseness, throat clearing and difficulty swallowing, a few conditions are typically in place. The patient in this case may wear tight, binding clothing, they may be overweight, the muscles that keep acid in the stomach may be especially weak, or the person may be dealing with significant stress. LPR is more likely to occur as patients age, and sometimes diet can play a role.

The symptoms of LPR don’t always fit with patient expectations of heartburn and acid reflux, because they occur so high in the throat. These symptoms can include coughing, post-nasal drip, red, inflamed throat tissue, or a throat sensation that feels like a lump or stickiness. Most of the time, both LPR and GERD (heartburn) can be treated with lifestyle changes and adaptations to a patient’s diet. When lifestyle adjustments don’t work, most doctors prescribe medication, typically proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that reduce the acid levels in the stomach.

In extremely severe cases in which the anatomy of the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach needs serious restructuring, surgery may be required. But somewhere between medication and surgery, there’s an additional option that’s new and highly promising: Stretta therapy.

Can LPR be treated with Stretta?

Stretta is not surgery, and it’s minimally invasive. If you receive this procedure, you won’t need a general anesthetic and a surgeon won’t need to cut you open. But Stretta can change the anatomy of the esophageal sphincter and make adjustments that medication can’t.

Using a scope, or long flexible tube, a gastroenterologist sends a set of very small, soft, mostly painless needles down the esophagus to the junction where the esophagus meets the stomach. These needles touch the soft tissue at this junction where the muscles tend to be weak in patients with LPR. The needles send radio frequency waves—heat-generating waves about as hot as a cup of coffee—into the muscle tissue to stimulate the growth of new cells. After just one treatment, the muscles in the area start gaining strength, and in time, they build up enough integrity to resolve LPR issues and symptoms without the need for surgery or more drastic treatment.

Stretta is a state-of-art-procedure that isn’t for everyone, but you may be a candidate for this type of treatment if your LPR symptoms aren’t responding to diet and lifestyle changes. If you’re dealing with LPR and you’d like to learn more about your treatment options, contact our office to arrange an appointment and find out if Stretta might work for you.


Tags: LPR, Laringopharyngeal reflux, Acid reflux, GERD, Heartburn, Stretta, Stretta Therapy, Stretta therapy heartburn, Stretta acid reflux, gastroenterologist, Stretta treatment


Here are some istock photos that show heartburn throat pain:


And I’ve attached a separate photo file from the Cleveland Clinic, which might be helpful.

Lincoln Hernandez , MD

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