Could you have something else other than LPR? As mentioned in my previous article, studies have shown that hoarseness and redness are not necessarily indications of laryngopharyngeal reflux. If you suffer from hoarseness, redness, sore throat and have tried treating your symptoms with remedies and medications to no avail, then you will want to read this article. In this article, I will cover 7 common medical conditions that can be misdiagnosed as LPR.
Oral thrush happens when you have an overgrowth of fungus in your mouth. A weak immune system is the typical cause.
Candida is the most common type of thrush. Symptoms of thrush include white, cream-ish or bleeding lesions in the mouth, redness, pain, soreness, trouble swallowing and eating, dryness around the mouth, and inflammation. Antifungal medication or lozenges is the best treatment for thrush. (1)
Leukoplakia is a condition that causes thick white patches, typically found on the gums, cheeks, and sometimes tongue. The cause of leukoplakia is uncertain but doctors suspect tobacco use to be the culprit.
Leukoplakia can cause hoarseness and inflammation in the mouth area. Other potential causes of leukoplakia include mouth wounds caused by broken teeth or dentures and long-term alcohol use. (2)
Leukoplakia typically clears itself once irritants are removed, but in severe cases, surgery with a scalpel or laser is necessary.
Also called indigestion, dyspepsia is one of the most common causes of acid reflux and LPR. This condition occurs when the body has trouble digesting food, many times due to a lack of HCL and probiotics.
Presbylarynges is a condition in which the muscles beside the vocal cords called the thyroarytenoids, atrophy. Symptoms of hoarseness, breathy voice, vocal fatigue, inflammation, and pain may also accompany atrophy.
Presbylarnges are thought to be a common ailment of aging and is typically treated with vocal therapy. Surgery may be required for severe cases. (6)
5. Vocal Fold Atrophy
Vocal fold atrophy is another condition that is more commonly found among the elderly. The condition is caused by a thinning of the vocal cords and a loss of muscle volume. This can result in a high pitched voice, breathy tone, hoarseness, and vocal fatigue. Another cause for vocal fold bowing is incorrectly placing the voice in the lower throat.
Vocal therapy is the most common treatment for vocal fold atrophy. For serious cases, the vocal cords are injected with vocal filler to straighten out the cords, with the hopes of achieving a clearer sound. (7)
6. Glottic Insufficiency
Another vocal disorder that can be confused with LPR is glottic insufficiency. The term glottic insufficiency describes vocal cords that do not compress or close fully.
Vocal cords that don’t close completely can lead to vocal issues. Symptoms of vocal insufficiency include hoarseness, a weak, breathy voice, and difficulty swallowing. Some may even feel a choking sensation. Glottic insufficiency is thought to occur when a nerve in the voice box gets damaged.
Glottic insufficiency is treated with vocal therapy, medication, and surgery. Surgery involves injecting collagen to bulk up the vocal folds so they can come together and produce sound. (8)
Are you certain you’ve been rightly diagnosed with LPR? It’s best to work with a doctor you trust to rule out other conditions that can produce similar symptoms. Long-term PPI therapy for those who do not have GERD can be harmful.
*This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.