Re: Vocal/throat problems...any singers out there?
Sounds like Ashlee Simpson disease - Acid Reflux, affecting your larynx. Can cause your voice to "cut out" as you mentioned.
The best known form of acid reflux is GERD - which causes heartburn, which is a sensation of burning near your heart/lungs, which is actually the burning from acid that has flowed up your esophogous. There is a 2nd form of reflux, called LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux) which occurs when the acid goes up even higher, out of your esophogous and into your throat. Heartburn is usually not a symptom of LPR, but the most typical symptoms are one or more of the following: hoarsemess (voice problems), frequent throat clearing, cough, sinsusitis-like symptoms (ex: stuffiness), and asthma-like symptoms.
Doctors aren't exactly sure why the acid gets into the throat but they theorize that the upper esophogeal spinchter muscle has weakened, letting the acid in. Gerd, on the other hand, is caused by a weakening of the lower esophogoeal spinchter muscle. So the question is, why do LPR patients not have heartburn? Doctors have theorized that much less acid is getting into the esophogous because the Lower E.S. is pretty much intact but the acid rises more swiftly up the esophogous and into the throat, doing less damage int the esophogous. Another more current theory states that LPR is a dysfunction of the larynx itself - which may be producing acid on its own directly in the throat.
Hopsitals in artistic hubs Columbia-Presbyterian in NYC have entire divisions of their ENT programs devoted to voice-related disorders due to the high population of singers in those areas. Columbia-Presbyterian's is called "The Voice and Swallowing Center".
Most ENTs understand that acid reflux causes these problems, but don't know how to treat LPR specifically. The most knowledgable doctors at in university teaching hospitals in metropolitan areas. The local yokals usually have no clue. Treatment is simply 2 doses of a Proton-Pump-Inhibitor per day. The problem usually doens't go away, but is effectively managed with medication.
The 4 prescription PPIs are Nexium, Aciphex, Prevacid and Protonix. Skip the Protonix, it doesn't work for LPR.
There is an OTC PPI called "Prilosec". Skip that too, it also has a bad rep for LPR.
Nexium and Aciphex are the most frequently sucessful LPR medications. 2 doses, taken at the same time each day. The doses should be taken together not separate.
There is a lot of information about LPR at the GERD message board. Check it out. Most of the posters actually have LPR, but we don't have our own board.