Laryngopharyngeal reflux is a condition in which the upper esophagus doesn’t function properly, allowing stomach acid to back up, or reflux, into the throat. Unlike the familiar type of acid reflux or heartburn, laryngopharngeal reflux often has no symptoms. Sufferers usually don’t notice any burning sensation. They may, however, experience a persistent hoarseness or cough with no apparent cause.
Just as with the more traditional types of acid reflux and heartburn, the laryngopharyngeal reflux diet can effectively control this disorder. In this article we’ll review the most common triggers, and the steps you can take to control this type of reflux.
Following a laryngopharyngeal reflux diet is very similar to following a diet for any other type of reflux. Certain foods are very common triggers.
Foods which have been fried, overly heavy foods or spicy foods may be the most common triggers. Others include coffee, other caffeinated beverages and citrus fruits. Peppermint, although it is popular for controlling stomach issues, actually makes reflux worse, and so it should be cut out of your laryngopharngeal reflux diet.
Certain bad habits also trigger reflux. Smoking, using smokeless tobacco or drinking to excess can all trigger reflux. Being overweight can also worsen or cause reflux, since excess weight places undue pressure on the esophagus. Therefore, a laryngopharyngeal reflux diet is also a weight-conscious diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in fat.
How to Determine Triggers
If you love your food spicy or you don’t think you can give up your morning coffee, don’t despair…you may not have to. While certain foods and substances are known to be common triggers, that doesn’t mean that they trigger everybody. Part of beginning a reflux diet is determining what your individual triggers are.
You can do this very easily by making a list of common trigger foods which you enjoy on a regular basis. Once you have a complete list, you’ll begin the elimination process.
Elimination should generally be done one week at a time. Each week, eliminate a certain food from your diet. If you like spicy food, for example, try eliminating a particular spice. If you notice a reduction in symptoms (if you showed symptoms in the first place), then you have identified a trigger.
Keep at it, one week at a time, until you have worked through your list. You may end up with a large number of foods which you need to avoid, but you may end up with only a few. If it turns out that a favorite food is a trigger, you can make the transition easier by finding a similar replacement. For some people, it’s as easy as switching from regular coffee to decaf!
If your reflux is completely symptom-free, you have more of a challenge. While you don’t need to go through the week-by-week elimination schedule, you may have to cut out common trigger foods entirely. This can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. Consider simply cutting back to begin with, and replacing those foods with tasty, reflux-friendly replacements. This will make the transition much easier, and help you to feel less deprived. The laryngopharngeal reflux diet isn’t about deprivation, it’s about feeling better!