In this post, learn how I eliminated my Silent Reflux quickly and easily with a few supplements designed to address the root cause.
We will cover the following topics:
As the name suggests there are some differences between silent reflux and acid reflux / GERD. In contrast, silent reflux does not necessarily cause heartburn. Symptoms may include:
- Hoarseness, inflammation of the throat and vocal chords
- Excessive throat clearing and coughing
- Mucus production and post nasal drip
As indicated in the Annals of Clinical Case Reports silent reflux has many synonyms including:
- Extraesophageal Reflux
- Supraesophageal Reflux
- Gastropharyngeal Reflux
- Atypical Reflux
- Pharyngoesophageal Reflux
- GERD Cough
- Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)
Among these many names, silent reflux is most commonly referred to as LPR.
In addition to the more common symptoms listed above, the following complications can manifest in cases of extended silent reflux.
- Hoarseness / Pain When Speaking – A hoarse voice is often one of the first symptoms that LPR sufferers experience as the larynx (voice box) is very close to the esophagus and consequently has higher exposure to potential reflux. In fact, Laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx is a common complication as the stomach contents and gases hit the Layrnx first, before spreading into the airways.
- Bad Breath / Bitter Taste In Back of Throat – Iron, bitter or sour taste in the mouth is due to stomach contents re fluxing into the airways and mouth
- Stress – Stress, like anxiety are both side effects of social pressures and reflux medications
- Burning / Dry throat – Throat pain is one of the earliest warning signs of reflux as the vocal chords and the larynx (throat) are the closest organs to the stomach
- Excessive Belching – Copious burping goes hand in hand with silent reflux, as frequent exposure stomach gases is the cause of the vocal chord damage and burning sensations in the esophagus and mouth
- Breathing disorders, such as apnea, noisy breathing, pauses in breathing, or Choking Episodes (especially at night) – Symptoms are often the worst overnight or in the mornings, especially if laying down shortly after eating a meal or after eating a large meal
- Asthma-Like Symptoms – Asthma is a common initial misdiagnosis, this is because stomach contents aspirate into the airways, prompting an immune response that mimics asthma
- Ear infections – The ear, nose, and throat are all connected so inflammation, bacteria, and mucous responses can express through any of the three organs
- Chronic Cough and Throat Clearing – Often times this can be a non-productive cough. LPR can irritate your mucus membranes which can also stimulate coughing and throat clearing. Quite often, silent reflux sufferers are mis-diagnosed as there are countless diseases that can cause a cough
- Globus Syndrome – This is that all too familiar sensation of something stuck in your throat. This is due to inflammation and swelling of your membranes. Its not in your head, you do have something akin to a lump in your throat, it is your own swollen tissue.
- Difficulties swallowing (dysphagia) – Many LPR sufferers experience trouble swallowing due to throat inflammation
- Post Nasal Drip – Post nasal drip and mucous production is your body’s natural response to protect sensitive tissues in your nasal cavity and esophagus (throat) from acid and acid vapors. This can result in excessive mucus in your throat and airways.
- Nausea or vomitting – This can be a side effect of throat stimulation or digestive issues, which ultimately may be the source of your reflux issues.
- Frequent Infections – As acid reflux is most often a symptom of poor digestive health and low stomach acidity. In a low acid environment, pathogens (such as bacteria and viruses) are able to thrive. These pathogens are able to travel freely through open airways and through connected tissues such as the ear, nose and throat, leading to frequent infection.
- Anxiety – Anxiety is often two fold 1. social stigmas from bad breath or hoarse / muted voice and 2. a side effect of vitamin B12 deficiency, a common side effect of long term acid reflux medication usage
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I had GERD for 15 years and for the couple of months prior to finding a cure, my symptoms escalated sharply. Looking back, it is clear that I had mild forms of silent reflux all along.
In the last couple of months of my reflux journey it was my silent reflux that really got out of control. I can even recall the moment that triggered two months of torture. It was eating a dozen Wint-o-green life savers. As I was eating them, I felt a growing burning sensation in my stomach. The next night marked the first of the mucus, post nasal drip, awful salty sour taste, etc..
After receiving a tip from a family friend about my reflux and associated symptoms I stumbled on some alternatives to the typical Acid Blockers, H2 Blockers, and Antacids that are prescribed. What I found was these medications actually exacerbate your reflux issues, rather than heal them:
Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and Diaphragmatic Sphincter
To understand why, you first need to understand the root cause of acid reflux. There is a ring of muscles between your stomach and your esophagus called the lower esophageal and diaphragmatic sphincters. These muscles are not under voluntary control, but are signaled by your body to relax and contract as necessary to allow food to pass (swallowing) and close (when not swallowing).
In fact, this ring of muscles is the reason your stomach contents are not emptied into your stomach when you bend over or hang upside down! For reflux sufferers it is the dysfunction of these muscles that allows stomach contents to reflux into the throat. As mentioned, these muscles are not under voluntary control.
Instead, rather they are signaled by your body to close when your stomach acidity and abdominal pressure reach sufficient levels during digestion.
However, acid reflux sufferers do not have sufficient acidity to signal these muscles to close. This is often misdiagnosed as being due exclusively to a hiatal hernia (as I have) or a weak LES. For most people, however this simply not the case.
The Root Causes of Reflux
Your stomach pH may have initially gotten out of balance due to poor diet, after a surgery, due to smoking, drinking, caffeinated drinks, age, by taking acid reflux medications, etc.. (for a full list view my risk factors post) Once this happens, your digestions suffers due to reduced acidity and your stomach will attempt to to slosh your little remaining acid around in attempts to better digest your food; both leading to discomfort and indigestion or reflux.
In addition, due to to low acidity, and resulting abdominal pressure, your sphincters are not signaled to seal. Lastly, due to low acidity pathogens (bacteria and viruses) are allowed to grow unchecked and thrive. They compete with your digestive enzymes reducing digestive efficiency, again leading to indigestion.
Acid Reflux Medications Make This Worse
As if this scenario were not bad enough on its own, doctors prescribe acid blockers, H2 blockers and antacids. These medicines block acid production, which exacerbates the above mentioned indigestion issues as well as guaranteeing your sphincters will not close correctly!
Patients are lulled into believing these medicines are helping them because they neutralize the uncomfortable / painful acids that escape into the throat. Consequently they decide to take them longer than the recommended 6-8 weeks, and because doctors do not have a better alternative they suggest buying over the counter or renew the prescriptions.
However, long term they will ensure co-dependency by keeping patients in a never ending cycle. The longer this goes on, the higher the doses required to manage higher quantities of stomach contents that are able to escape the open sphincters. For more on the long term side effects of prolonged acid reflux medication use see this post.
Thankfully, there is a way to break and even end this destructive cycle:
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Silent Reflux Natural Remedies
There are three supplements that I found that eliminated my GERD and Silent Reflux entirely by addressing the above mentioned root causes. To restore sphincter function you need to restore healthy digestive function which includes digestive enzymes and promoting the production and return to normal acidity. With sufficient acidity, your body is able to signal your sphincters to close and bye bye reflux!
Digestive Enzymes – These enzymes help the body breakdown proteins, fats, milk sugars, fiber and carbohydrates. I took these supplements with meals for a few weeks until my digestion was back on track. Here is the exact brand that I used.
Apple Cider Vinegar Pills – Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a great complement to the above supplements as it has a beneficial blend of prebiotics and acidity to help you restore efficient food digestion. Here is the exact brand that I used.
HCl Supplements – HCl Supplements are specifically engineered to promote production of acids and a return to normal stomach acidity. It’s important to take supplements that contain pepsins (digestive enzymes) as they can grant an extra boost to your digestive efficiency. I took these supplements with meals for a few weeks until my digestion was back on track. Here is the exact brand that I used.
Its important to use the right dose of HCl with meals. You can get my transition guide and personal journal sent you to you automatically below:
Long Term Use of Acid Reflux Medications
If you, like me took prescription or over the counter acid reflux medications for many years, you may additionally be vitamin deficient due to poor digestive health. As noted in this article, the most common deficiencies are vitamin B12, Magnesium and Calcium.
Click here for a list of symptoms and recommended supplements to quickly resolve these deficiencies.
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