Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I be diagnosed with laryngopharyngeal reflux?"
From what I have read I am almost positive that I have laryngopharyngeal reflux. How would a doctor diagnose this? Is it possible that's what I have but they have just missed it in the past because I've had the symptoms for a little while now.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux is a condition in which acid from the stomach escapes up the esophagus and down into the voice box (larynx). This acid is extremely irritating to the tissue in the voice box and back of the throat, and therefore it produces symptoms such as chronic cough, wheezing, and hoarseness. Importantly, there is absolutely no way to be 'positive' about a diagnosis of laryngopharyngeal reflux just based on your symptoms. In fact, the symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux are shared in common with several other much more common conditions (like asthma, bad allergies, problems with the vocal cords). Therefore, if you are having any of the kinds of symptoms like those I mentioned above, you should start by seeing your primary care doctor. They can examine you thoroughly and rule out the common causes of the symptoms. If nothing obvious presents itself, then you may need a referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, as only an ENT specialist can definitively diagnose laryngopharyngeal reflux or anatomic conditions contribution to hoarseness. The ENT doctor generally will want to look down the throat with a fiberoptic camera so that they can directly visualize the voice box and vocal cords looking for the cause of your symptoms. Please see your doctor soon.
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