The backward flow (reflux) of acid from stomach up into the esophagus or, even further up, to the level of the laryngopharynx. Symptoms may be esophageal, laryngopharyngeal, or both. Esophageal symptoms include heartburn, indigestion, and acid belching. Laryngopharynx symptoms tend to include dry throat, husky (especially morning) voice, frequent morning throat clearing, excessive mucus, and mildly sore throat.
Sometimes acid reflux is diagnosed when it isn’t the real problem. The do-it-yourself trials in this downloadable article can help a person and his or her personal physician verify if acid reflux is the appropriate diagnosis: When Acid Reflux Treatment Takes You Down a Rabbit Trail.¹
1. Originally published in Classical Singer, April 2009. Posted with permission.
Acid reflux (1 of 2)
Open phase of vibration, strobe light, with white mucus sometimes but not always suggestive of acid reflux laryngitis.
Acid reflux (1 of 4)
This man has obvious clinical symptoms of acid reflux such as heartburn, excessive morning mucus, husky morning voice. Note classic interarytenoid pachyderma, diffuse pinkness.
Prominent capillaries and mucus (2 of 4)
Here we see loss of color differential between true and false cords. Capillaries are prominent (like bloodshot eyes) on the true cords. There is also adherent mucus.
Redness and inflammation (4 of 4)
Even the upper trachea shows evidence of redness and inflammation. This is not seen that often except with truly severe nocturnal acid reflux/ LPR.