Difference Between Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? header graphic

What Is The Difference Between Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

The esophagus is the tube that food travels along from the mouth to the stomach. There are sphincters at both the top and bottom ends of the esophagus that help guide food to the stomach in a controlled fashion.
When people use the word ?reflux? in relation to stomach and digestive issues, they are referring to the reflux of stomach contents. Instead of moving toward the stomach, food and gastric acid move backwards toward the esophagus. This is acid reflux.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease refers more specifically to a failure of the bottom esophageal sphincter to seal off and prevent stomach contents from passing back toward the esophagus. This is the most common type of acid reflux disease.

When stomach acids touch the sensitive lining of the esophagus, patients feel discomfort or pain in the form of a burning sensation. Since the esophagus is not built to withstand stomach acid, it doesn?t take much acid reflux to feel a great deal of discomfort.

Laryngopharyngeal reflux, on the other hand, lies at the other end of the esophasgus. With LPRD the problem lies in both of the esophageal sphincters. While gastric reflux is a painful occurrence, tissues of the areas before / above the esophagus are even more sensitive and vulnerable to acid reflux.

When the upper esophageal sphincter fails to retain stomach acid, this is known as laryngopharyngeal reflux. The throat structures are much more sensitive to the damaging effects of digestive fluids than the esophagus. Lungs, larynx and pharynx are particularly fragile when it comes to caustic stomach acid.

Sufferers of LPRD may not have heartburn-like symptoms. Regular heartburn hurts because esophageal tissue is irritated, but with laryngopharyngeal reflux disease a less nerve-infused portion is the part being affected by acid reflux.

Symptoms include chronic cough, pain in the throat, frequent throat clearing and asthma type symptoms. If you think that you may be suffering from laryngopharyngeal reflux you should of course seek help from a medical professional.