What’s acid reflux? It’s the backflow of anything from the stomach into the esophagus. Whether it’s from stomach acid or food, acid reflux can be painful in esophagus or lead to complications when it reaches the throat or even the voice box.

Depending on the underlying condition, a person may not even need to eat in order to experience reflux. They don’t need to be in any particular position, and it can happen at any time.

Laryngopharyngeal reflux is a particular kind of acid reflux that may often go unnoticed. This is because it lasts such a brief amount of time that the sufferer may not experience noticeable heartburn as a result. The problem is that the reflux is still doing damage to the throat and larynx.

If the reflux reaches all the way to the back of the throat or the voice box, serious complications can occur. So how can you tell if you have this harmful condition? If the reflux reaches the voice box, chronic hoarseness can become a problem. You may cough or have to clear your throat regularly, and some experience problems swallowing.

In some cases, a person may experience heartburn so don’t discount laryngopharyngeal reflux just because it doesn’t usually result in indigestion. You should consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist if you are experiencing these symptoms. Smoking can increase the likelihood of this condition, so if you experience these symptoms and are a smoker, there is an even greater urgency to both seek a medical opinion and to also kick the smoking habit.

If your doctor suspects this condition, he may check your voice box for inflammation as a diagnosis. Your general practitioner can recommend an ear, nose, and throat specialist to assist with treatment.