How I Cured My LPR
By Stu Leo︱Published September 9, 2022
The really interesting thing about acid reflux is we keep being told that it’s incurable and once you get it it’s a lifelong condition, yet many of us get it and then heal from it. Just hop on a health forum like Facebook and you’ll find plenty of examples of people who once had GERD but made a full recovery, a year later…
It gets even more interesting though when you get reflux and LPR symptoms in certain seasons of your life like a sore throat or difficulty talking and then maybe a month or 2 later—not so much…You’re off the meds, things get better.
The reflux comes and goes, which seems to turn the entire theory of acid reflux on its head. To me, it just seems like there are a lot of unanswered questions and if you stick around to the end of this article you’re going to learn 2 critical things I did to cure my acid reflux and LPR permanently and naturally.
I know I look fine right now, but this was very much not the case back in 2015 when I was at my lowest point, suffering from LPR horrendously. So listen very closely as I share my story with you to see if you can identify with my symptoms because they may very well help you understand the true causes of your acid reflux.
When did I start experiencing LPR?
So with that said, let’s get into it. When did I start experiencing GERD? Well, my story actually begins at a really stressful time in my life. Like so many people do, I put myself through college by working basically full-time at a car dealership while going to school full-time taking like 16 units as well. This proved too much for me because one day after closing a 3-hour deal, I noticed that my voice began to crack and began to feel weak.
Throat Pain and a Fatigued Voice
When I swallowed, my throat hurt. I tried drinking tea in the morning and that seemed to help a little but one day I caught a cold and my voice went out completely. When I tried to talk, my voice felt fatigued and inflamed. When I swallowed it felt like needles were going down my throat, and this would especially worsen in the morning when I woke up. Again drinking hot tea seemed to soothe my voice a bit and seemed to help it a bit but a few weeks later, my voice was not getting better so I went to my family doctor and was prescribed antibiotics because apparently, my doctor thought it was a viral infection.
Again things seemed to get better until they didn’t so after 3 months with little progress I went
and saw an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or LPR. I was told this was a lifelong disease and there was nothing I could do except take acid-blocking drugs for the rest of my life so that’s what I did for a few years, and again, I felt better…initially.
Muscle Tension Dysphonia and Voice Problems
Fast forward a few years later to 2013, I wake up one morning after playing a gig and my voice is completely gone again. Except this time it was much worse. I woke up and my voice literally sounds like this. My voice felt weak, inflamed, and sore and I couldn’t talk for about 2 years. Which was hell if I can be honest with you. It was the most difficult thing I faced in my life.
Around this time my regurgitation got much worse to the point where I was having trouble sleeping at night. Things got so bad that I began eating 5-6 hours before bed because I was so fearful of getting acid reflux at night. There’s a lot more to the story, but I’ll just say it wasn’t a fun time in my life. I was sleeping upright in a chair and whenever I swallowed, I would get this weird clicking noise in my throat. During this time, I also saw doctor after doctor to no avail. I remember seeing another ENT who scoped me and told me they didn’t really see that much inflammation and another one told me she thought I had muscle tension dysphonia.
Needless to say, it was a very confusing time in life. What’s more, was my health was deteriorating rapidly and I began struggling with digestive issues like constipation and blood in my stool. Sorry, that might be too much information. Just keeping it real.
So as you can probably imagine, I was pretty concerned about my health.
My Personal Turning Point
Looking back on it, my personal turning point happened when I decided I couldn’t live the way I was living anymore. This time was a transformative point in my life and I actually remember exactly what I was doing. I was sitting in my car in a Trader Joe’s parking lot on the phone with a doctor who basically discounted all of my concerns. As I said before I was concerned about my digestion because I was experiencing changes in my bowel movements but this doctor I was speaking to kept saying that I was fine and that I was too young to be concerned with complications and he just told me to take Metamucil.
But you know what? I really didn’t feel fine at all. It was a real struggle talking every day, and I was experiencing reflux every single night. I really couldn’t take it anymore so it was kinda funny because I started to google how to treat esophageal cancer because I was so freaked out and I stumbled upon a guy named Chris Wark who claimed he was able to heal his stage 3 colorectal cancer by juicing. I know, sounds a bit crazy at first right? But guys I was so desperate I was willing to try anything.
And the more and more I looked into it the more and more I began to realize the research this guy was talking bout was legit! Multiple research papers support the fact that plants are protective against chronic diseases like cancer. So I said to myself, what exactly do I have to lose, again? My life is in shambles. I can’t talk. I’m depressed, angry, and still sick.
So you know what? Screw it. I don’t care anymore. I’m going all in because I can’t live like this anymore. Now if you knew me prior to this time you would know that I’ve never been into health foods or fad diets at all, but again I was willing to try anything, so the next day I bought a Vitamix blender, started juicing, and transitioned to a plant-based diet.
The Best GERD and LPR Diet
Which leads us to the first thing I did to cure my acid reflux and LPR completely—a plant-based diet. Now, to be honest, I‘ve had ups and downs with a plant-based diet. I actually started with a raw diet, which seemed to help a bit but still caused reflux for me at night. After reading Dr. MIchael Greger’s book, How Not to Die I transitioned to more of a solid food diet and immediately noticed an improvement in my digestion as well as my blood work.
Eventually, as I persisted and experimented with more plant foods I found my groove and my digestion improved by leaps and bounds to the point where I was having consistent bowel movements every day which was a big deal for me because prior to that I’d never had consistent bowel movements. This improved my reflux greatly and likely mean that I did not have cancer.
Seems kind of silly, but I think a lot of us with acid reflux, really struggle with this fear and paranoia that informs our decision on whether or not to go through with potentially disastrous “treatments” like antireflux surgery for instance.
With that being said, I know diet is a very personal thing that is influenced by how we grew up, our culture, and various foods just seem to make us happy in this world we live in filled with pain and suffering. We indulge in food because it helps us cope with the suffering that’s why it’s so hard to quit or moderate sometimes.
I don’t where you are in your journey to heal from reflux but personally, at that time, I was at a point of deep desperation and anguish. Sounds intense but that’s just where I was. But what happened was that state of mind really pushed me to want to understand why. So I began to dig into the science and as I did this, I realized there was an avalanche of evidence that supported adopting a plant-based diet.
Acid Reflux and Chronic Western Conditions
So let me now give you 2 key pieces of evidence that convinced me to switch over to a plant-based diet. Number 1 GERD is linked with classic chronic Western diseases, like diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and more. What’s the common denominator? It’s the food we’re eating. Studies have shown that an animal-based diet rich in saturated fat increases the risk of most chronic diseases. Guess what else a high-fat diet seems to increase the risk of?
It’s Barrett’s Esophagus, a condition many consider to be precancerous. According to a study done by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, TX, the risk for Barrett’s Esophagus goes up as the amount of animal fat in your diet goes up, so it stands to reason that when you switch over from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet your risk for chronic diseases including GERD may go down as well. This has certainly been the case for me.
A Plant-based Diet is a Mostly Alkaline Diet
The second piece of evidence for a plant-based diet is the fact that most plants have a relatively high pH which is why low-acid diets work so well for some people. It’s because a lot of alkaline/low-acid foods are actually just plants. Check out this study led by Dr. Muller from the University of Freiburg in Germany. This study compared the acidity between a meat-rich diet and a vegan diet and noted that in general, a meat-rich diet actually increases dietary acid load whereas plants are generally more alkaline.
The study goes further on to conclude that a meat-rich diet substantially increases the dietary acid load in the body while on the other hand, a vegan diet had the potential to decrease acidity. And Dr. Mueller is certainly not alone as there are plenty more studies that show meat like beef produces 40% more acid in the stomach, presumedly because meat generally takes more energy to digest in the human body.
Now as I mentioned before, food is a really particular thing for many people. And you might be saying, “Stu, I’ve tried a “vegan” diet before but I just got a bunch of gas and it seemed to make my reflux worse. And I get it because when I went plant-based I had to deal with gas and bloating for a month or two as well, but it eventually went away, and today my digestion has never been better.
You gotta keep in mind that if you were not a regular consumer of veggies and other health foods then your gut will likely need to go through a period of adaptation to get used to new foods until your body adjusts.
Why Dry Mouth Can Cause Acid Reflux
Ok, so the second thing I did to heal was I stopped mouth breathing in my sleep. This has made the biggest difference in my vocal health. Now in just a minute, I’ll tell you exactly what I did to heal my voice but first let’s talk about mouth breathing. I plan to do a whole video on this in the future but for now, what you need to know is that mouth breathing is when you breathe through your mouth for a significant period of time.
This is bad because breathing through our mouths dries out saliva which plays a crucial role in neutralizing acid in the entire esophageal tract. Many studies have expounded on this, but here’s one study that describes saliva as the acid neutralizer.
Patients with a condition that limits saliva flow called xerostomia are known to experience concurrent acid reflux. Motubreathing explains why so many people with laryngopharyngeal reflux experience a sore throat and a weak voice when they wake up in the morning. Many people mouth breathe at night and this dries out saliva, the natural acid neutralizer for our throats.
How to Prevent Dry Mouth and Silent Reflux
So what did I do to stop mouth breathing in my sleep? 2 things. I began using sleeping aids like nasal breathing strips, and Chin-up strips. Nasal strips are adhesive strips you put on your nose to open your nasal passages for better breathing. Chin-up strips on the other hand are U-shaped adhesives you put on your lower cheeks to prevent your jaw from dropping at night.
Looks a bit silly, I know but trust me, it really works. After using chin-up strips for 1 night my voice felt almost completely healed the next morning. I cannot even describe to you how happy I was when I started using Chin-up Strips because for the first time in a long time I felt hope and confidence that my voice would be restored completely. I continue to use both sleeping aids today and sleep on my side for maximum benefit.