Some of the differences between LPR and GERD confuse me. In fact, while I've learned an enormous amount from using this board, a small critique I'd respectfully pass on would be that LPR and GERD are too often lumped together or used interchangeably on this board (e.g., by the end of a thread started about LPR, it's become about GERD, or vice versa). While the two disorders obviously have the same basis (acid reflux), LPR and GERD manifest themselves very differently--the most obvious difference being the lack of heartburn in LPR compared to its prevalance in GERD. True, there are some people with LPR who also have GERD, but it's less than 30% of all LPR sufferers, from what I've read; which would mean of everyone with GERD, a much small percentage than 30 (10%? 15%?) would also have LPR (since more people have GERD than LPR).
My current confusion is about sleeping, and I'm wondering if anyone on this board understands this better than me. Here's why I'm confused: GERD sufferers often experience bad symptoms at night. One of the differenciating characteristics of LPR, is that with LPR you usually experience no symptoms at night (true for me). Yet, both GERD and LPR patients are advised to sleep on a "slant" or a wedge. The reason for this, from what I understand, is that during the day, when we're more or less upright all the time, gravity is a huge factor in helping to keep our acid in our stomachs and out of our esophagus; at night, if lying flat, there's a clear passageway for the acid to move from the stomach into the esophagus. Okay, all that makes sense to me so far and I have been using a specially ordered wedge pillow... BUT if GERD and LPR sufferers alike depend on gravity, and GERD and LPR sufferers alike should sleep on a slant instead of sleeping flat, then why--if we assume for a second we were all sleeping flat--would GERD patients have frequent nighttime symptoms and LPR patients would not? In other words, why wouldn't LPR also manifest itself at night just like GERD?
Well for me, it began with GERD and quickly changed to LPR. I also have been sleeping on a wedge pillow. In the beginning first few months, I did not have too much trouble at night. But now I do. In fact, I've been sleeping in the living room all week so as not to wake anyone from my coughing/choking.
That being said, I believe that it is not that LPR does not manifest itself at night. It is more a matter of HOW LPR manifests itself at any given time for any given person. I've been through it all so I can vouch for this. It changes. Even the type of cough, hoarseness etc all have changed in degree and type over the last year for me.
Just a thought: Perhaps the symptoms of LPR are not nearly as intense and disruptive as choking and coughing and while we experience them, we sleep through them.
I go to sleep with runny eyes and a stuffy nose every night. This starts to happen right after I lie down. I fall asleep while congested. Sometimes I awake choking or coughing. Some nights are very bad. I've had to sleep in a chair because I couldn't stop choking. It's been pretty good lately with very few episodes. I am very grateful for that. I have GERD, LPR (LPR has not been diagnosed, but I have all the symptoms), and a hiatal hernia.
I was at the store yesterday talking to a clerk - explaining what I was looking for - when I lost my voice. No matter how much I cleared my throat, coughed or swallowed, I could not say another word and had to give up. Very frustrating.