What is silent reflux?
Sometimes the contents of the stomach can seep back up into the food pipe. The highly acidic stomach content irritates the lining of the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest, called heartburn. This condition is called acid reflux.
Silent reflux or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) happens when the contents of the stomach flow back all the way up to the throat, sometimes even to the mouth. Most people with LPR don’t experience heartburn at all, that’s why it is called silent.
Common symptoms are:
- lump in throat
- coughing after eating
- phlegm in throat
- sour taste in the mouth
- difficulty swallowing
What makes a diet silent reflux friendly?
Certain foods are more likely to trigger symptoms, the main goal is to avoid these foods, or at least limit their consumption.
An acid reflux diet should also help to avoid silent reflux symptoms. These are the most common trigger foods:
- fatty foods
- sugary foods
- spicy foods
- fried foods
- red meat
- certain fruits, like citrus fruits
- certain vegetables, like tomato or onion
Some foods that are likely to ease silent reflux symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at these foods:
What foods relieve silent reflux symptoms?
Apple cider vinegar
Drinking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a glassful of water before meals could improve symptoms experienced by LPR sufferers. Apple cider vinegar also contains potassium, magnesium, and enzymes that aid in digestion. It is believed to have alkalinizing effects on the stomach, which helps neutralize the acidity level in the body.
Three cups of ginger tea daily for 4 weeks reduces daytime and nighttime heartburn incidents for people suffering from reflux esophagus or erosive reflux disease. Ginger tea also helps alleviate pain or discomfort experienced right after eating by neutralizing the acidity in the esophagus.
This super spice has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help reduce swelling and irritation in the esophagus lining due to LPR.
Yogurt is one of those foods that can be good for your health if eaten properly. It contains probiotic cultures, which can keep bad bacteria from growing inside your body, aiding digestion and keeping your stomach healthy.
This is another food which can be helpful if eaten shortly before eating meals. It has resistant starch, which helps thicken the stool and slow down digestion, making it easy for your body to break down food properly. Thicker stools mean that there will be less pressure inside the esophagus due to reflux.
Soy milk also contains resistant starch, but you need to check with your doctor if it is suitable for you before drinking it since soy is one of those common allergens.
When we take in a lot of acidic foods such as citrus fruits, vinegar, tomato sauce, and caffeine, the stomach might secrete more acid than usual. This can cause acid reflux or silent reflux. The best remedy for that is to eat melons which have an alkalizing effect on your digestive tract.
So remember to add these foods to your diet to lower your chances of getting Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR).
What foods trigger silent reflux?
For those who experience silent reflux regularly, it is important to avoid certain foods and behaviors.
Such dietary and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce or eliminate silent reflux symptoms.
These are the most common things you should not do or eat:
One main cause of silent reflux is acid coming up from the stomach into the throat during sleep. This makes the lining in the throat extremely sensitive, so one acidic mouthful will be enough to trigger a burning sensation in your throat.
Hard to digest foods
Fatty, sugary, and fried foods are hard to digest. Eating such foods puts extra pressure on your stomach and can make reflux episodes more likely.
Carbon dioxide is naturally released when we burp. Still, higher levels of carbon dioxide combined with lower body positions during sleep increase the chances of silent reflux occurring again. Try not to drink too many fizzy drinks or beer if you can help it, as this can increase the frequency of your silent reflux.
Lying down right after a meal
After a meal, try to remain upright for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. If you go straight to bed after a meal, acid can come up from your stomach into your throat, irritating it.
Sleeping pills such as Valium can relax the body so much that they do not realize that they are swallowing any food or liquid which has been regurgitated and missed their mouth and goes straight back down into their lungs. This makes everything a lot worse for your silent reflux condition, so if you have reflux and plan to use sleeping pills, be sure to discuss this with your doctor first.
If you follow the above tips, you will improve your silent reflux condition significantly. So good luck, and remember to be patient; it may take a few weeks for the symptoms to go away entirely, so do not expect immediate results.