In this Best Health article, Dr. Jeffrey Gallups from The ENT Institute encourages you to learn about silent reflux before resorting to surgical measures to treat sinusitis.
When patient Beverly R. suffered through her twentieth bout of sinusitis, her primary care doctor recommended surgery to fix the problem. Unfortunately, it was after the pain, expense and downtime of the surgery that Beverly discovered the source of her continuing sinus infections wasn’t blocked sinuses. It was her diet and silent reflux.
Often overlooked and misdiagnosed, acid reflux affects 40 percent of Americans. The backflow of stomach acid can not only irritate your esophagus, but your ears, nose, throat, vocal cords, sinuses, mouth and lungs. American diets have become very acidic. Bottled and canned food, carbonated sodas and fried food all contain high amounts of acid and contribute to the reflux epidemic.
There is a wide range of common silent reflux symptoms, including hoarseness, cough, sinusitis, burning throat, trouble swallowing, snoring and apnea, asthma and shortness of breath. Sadly, most physicians don’t test for reflux because they don’t know it can be the root of all these problems.
Through a series of diagnostic tests, including sinus scans, esophageal and lung screenings, physicians can determine whether the patient may be treated through medical therapy and lifestyle changes, or if surgery is required. A Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication tightens the valve between the stomach and esophagus, preventing acid from refluxing up into the esophagus and sensitive areas of the throat, nose, lungs and sinuses. Luckily for Beverly R., her silent reflux is under control with medication and diet. She now tells her friends with sinus issues to visit an ENT before a visit to the surgery center. Today, four out of five patients don’t have asthma; they have reflux. The good news is, with the right medication, diet and guidance from your doctor, you can get silent reflux under control.