Can LPR be Caused by Anxiety?

lpr anxiety

To answer if anxiety can be caused by LPR the quick and simple answer is yes it can. Of course there are potential reasons that things like stress and anxiety do that will only make LPR worse or can even bring it on in the first place.

When it comes to LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux) there are a host of causes and symptoms associated with it.

Anxiety is one of the causes of LPR that is not often talked but what is the correlation between LPR and stress, anxiety and depression? I will cover it below in more detail from my research and own experience.

LPR & Anxiety – Correlated?

There is a strong correlation between people who have LPR and psychological symptoms like anxiety and stress, with anxiety being the most common association. Also there have been studies which prove this both for people with LPR (silent reflux) and also people with GERD and more typical acid reflux symptoms.

When I think back to when I myself first started having the symptoms of LPR I was highly stressed and generally speaking I was quite a nervous person who had anxiety. Of course, if you have a host of LPR symptoms anxiety could be the cause of it and the LPR and general bad health could make your anxiety worse just by simply worrying about your health like happened to me initially.

When I first had problems with my throat I wasn’t aware I had LPR though further down the road I figured out that was what was affecting me. Once I got to that stage I did all of the best proven LPR treatment and it definitely helped me.

Though I feel my mindset change and addressing my anxiety, stress etc. was an extremely important element for me to go that extra step. Not only for me personally as someone who had nervous tendencies and anxiety, but for a lot of others who suffer from LPR also have these tendencies.

I have read a lot of posts from people suffering from LPR everyday and it’s clear to me there seems to be a relation between stress, anxiety and depression with LPR. Of course, this could be how the person was before they developed LPR or this could be because of the havoc that LPR can cause to someone which can amplify these problems.

Don’t just take my word for it, there was a study done to see if there is any relationship between LPR and depression. The result of this study showed a significant association between the depression and LPR. You can check this study here.

If you have LPR, I would suggest you not only treat LPR as I have suggested in my complete LPR guide but also treat and address any of these problems alongside it to get the best effect possible.

Can LPR be Brought on by Stress?

Just like with anxiety stress creates pressure and problems for the whole body especially if the stress lasts for a longer period of time. Anytime you have felt stress or some form of pressure you often sense the body starting to feel worse. One thing in relation to this is how the stomach feels. While not everyone has this sensation but for some people when they get really stressed they can sometimes feel the stomach feeling woozy or nauseous. In that situation you have actual evidence that something is happening in the stomach that is directly making the stomach feel unusual. Even without doctor advice or evidence we already know ourselves something is not quite right.

This correlation and understanding also matches up to quite a few studies that have been done where people with different forms of acid reflux are studied and they compared how acid reflux or relatable symptoms are made worse from stress, and if there is any correlation between the two.

For example there was a study completed in Korea where people where tested and the association between reflux esophagitis (sometimes called GERD) and stress where compared.

The conclusion of this study showed that people with this form of acid reflux had increased severity of the acid reflux when the stress was higher. It showed a correlation when someone became more stressed that their reflux become worse. You can check out this study here for all the details.

Can LPR be Psychosomatic?

It’s important to know and ask the question if LPR can be psychosomatic. The quick and easy answer is no. This is important to keep in mind. Because sometimes doctors are not knowledgeable on LPR and they may have not even heard of it before.

Sometimes this can lead to doctors believing a patient is Psychosomatic which is usually not the case but instead a lack of the doctors knowledge which can often lead to confusion for the patient. That’s why I felt that it’s important to mention this here.

It’s also important to mention here that LPR can be related to Laryngeal Sensory Neuropathy (LSN) which is basically when the vagus nerve in the throat sends a faulty signal to the brain. This can sometimes lead to similar symptoms as someone with LPR may have. The point of me mentioning this is to show that it could be something else causing your symptoms. It’s also essential to understand people can develop LSN from having LPR because of the damage the acid and pepsin does to the vagus nerve.

How to Help Anxiety, Stress, Depression etc. for LPR

For me personally one of the things that really helped me was reading this book called “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. This book is excellent at teaching you effective ways to stop worrying which for me was one of my main problems. I could be worrying and anxious about a host of different things – it could be my health at the time or it could be me attending an interview for a job.

The important thing to mention was that me worrying caused me to be more nervous and anxious which undoubtedly negatively effected my digestion and in turn worsened my LPR symptoms and even brought them on in the first place. The advice in the book really helped me with properly tackling my mentality and attitude when getting anxious or stressed about something.

One of the important things I learnt was to think more logically about things. When I say this, I mean for example if you have a health problem in this case LPR I would think about what’s causing and what you can do to make it better. Then I would make a step by step plan to make it better and write it down on paper to help emphasize it in your brain. Another thing to think of logically is to not get stressed over silly things like attending an interview. Before when I attended a job interview I would get very nervous but now I think about it more logically and I say to myself why I am getting anxious – I am simply just talking to other people – there is nothing to be anxious about!

Another thing I picked up was to focus on today. What that basically means to not to worry about what might happen tomorrow or what happened yesterday. Just live for today. This is great I feel if you are suffering with LPR. I myself had a plan to help my LPR and I did that every day. I was thinking that I am positively doing my best today to help myself and that was a great way for me to ease my mind and help me relax and stop worrying.

One final thing I want to mention is having faith. When I say having faith I mean thinking that you can do something. Someone who believes they can do something is much more likely to do it. The same applies to someone who thinks they can’t, because they almost certainly won’t be able to do it.

How this applied to me was before I had a more negative mindset when I didn’t have much faith in myself getting better after dealing with LPR for almost 2 years. This negative mindset was holding me back from improving my health. By me changing my mindset to one where I thought more positively by thinking that I will get better, I believe was an important step for me to lower my anxiety, stress and depression. This in turn undoubtedly helped with lessening my LPR symptoms and allowing for me to get on the right path to curing my LPR.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Does it Take for LPR to Heal?

There is not a one size fits all answer for this. For some people they can return to normal after 1-2-weeks’ time whereas for others they must maintain a strict diet for many months until they can heal. Also, not everyone may be able to completely heal though luckily the vast majority of people will see improvements when doing things like following a strict low acid diet.

How Do You Treat LPR?

There are lots of ways that can help treat LPR but the best 2 things you can do are firstly following a low acid diet that avoids trigger foods. Secondly the best medicine to help LPR is Gaviscon Advance (UK version), it has been proven to be effective at helping LPR unlike other more commonly prescribed medicines like PPI’s which tend to be largely ineffective for treating LPR.

How Do You Test for LPR?

The best singular test to test for LPR is by doing a Restech pH study sometimes called a Dx-pH System. This is similar to the likes of a normal pH study though the important difference is that it is much better at detecting gaseous reflux than other pH studies. This is very important because LPR reflux is gaseous reflux unlike normal acid reflux which is primarily liquid based reflux. For this test a thin tube is inserted up the nose and down the throat and left for 24 hours where it will measure the acidity of your throat and esophagus.

What is the Best Medicine for LPR?

While best medicine for LPR is most likely any form of raft forming barrier agent usually made from a substance taken from seaweed known as alginate. The most common medications that use that ingredient are Gaviscon Advance importantly the UK version, reflux gourmet (US) and also esophageal guardian (US). All of the medications include the important ingredient alginate which creates a barrier raft on top of the stomach which in turn help lessen or negate symptoms.


26 thoughts on “Can LPR be Caused by Anxiety?”

  1. Avatar for Colin Russell

    I have had LPR for three years and have tried all diets ie Gluten free, no dairy, no coffee. Ihave tried many nose drops and omeprazole. Non of these made any difference. I have come to tne conclusion that I do have nasal drip which occurs when I get up (when vertical). This goes at the back of my throat and I am unable to move it. When I lye down and go to bed it goes.
    The more I try and dislodge it the worse it gets. I live with it now . I had a bad headache the other day and it wqas awful had some paracetamol and it went. I thought at the time I would rather put up with my mucous.
    My son has migrianes and vomits with this. I think I am happy to put up with so called ‘LPR’

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Hi Colin I am sorry to hear about your struggle but trust me that it can definitely be helped. I myself had a mindset like yourself after trying many diet plans and ideas myself with no success. Luckily the diet I follow now has helped me significantly and many others who have followed it as well. If you think you have LPR definitely try gaviscon advance the UK version and I would lower the PPI’s gradually if I was you. Also if you are interested in my diet plan check it out here – https://www.wipeoutreflux.com/wipeout-diet/ . If you have any other questions feel free to send me an email – david@wipeoutreflux.com

  2. Avatar for Jennielouises

    Thank you so much for this post. I was diagnosed with GERD 13 years ago but have had throat problems throughout my life. I believe I have LPR as well as I get ‘gas’ reflux (Pepsin) and bile reflux. I have a sore throat, swollen glands, clear my throat a lot, sneeze a lot, have a post nasal drip and when its really bad, I get a cough as well. All signs of LPR. This really helps as the PPIs have never truly treated things for me and now I can see why

  3. Avatar for Doreen

    I also have been struggling with lpr for almost 4 years. My issue is the horrible throat burn and sometimes pressure in my ears. Ppis don’t work for me. Actually cause chest pain probably because they stop all acid which causes gas right.
    I tried diet and felt pretty good but started my coffee intake again and feel shitty again.

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Oh sorry to hear that, it’s good that the diet was helping you. At least you know that it was the coffee that triggered it and you can avoid that from now on. Try Chicory it shouldn’t trigger symptoms and is somewhat like coffee!

  4. Avatar for Helen

    Hello.
    I’ve come across this site after searching my symptoms. I have a constant lump at the back of my throat, I sometimes taste vomit when I belch and I have a sore throat that comes and goes. My Dr thinks it’s all anxiety as I suffer for anxiety quite bad, especially around health. I’m also a type 1 diabetic but don’t think it’s anything linked to that. I’m worried that the LPR (if that’s what I have) could be caused by cancer or is it just another symptom of my day to day anxiety? So glad I’ve found this website.

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Hey Helen thank you for the kind comments. I don’t think it’s caused by cancer at all though your anxiety will likely make your symptoms worse. It’s not all anxiety though as your doctor has said, it’s actually acid reflux causing them effects most likely. Ideally you should try and follow my advice on my site for stopping the LPR along with also trying to calm your anxiety because lessening that should also help lessen symptoms.

  5. Avatar for Chris Helstrip

    I have had the camera down my throat a couple of times and was told i have gastritis. I take lansoprazole but still suffer with mucous burning throat and acid reflux. I am an anxious person and worry about everything is this the cause of my problems

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Yeah it’s likely being anxious often will make your symptoms worse or even bring them on. When I tackled my own anxiety it definitely lowered my symptoms quite a lot. Of course it likely won’t completely stop it, so you should be doing the other advice to stop symptoms as well.

  6. Avatar for Jenny

    I’ve been suffering a sore, achy throat on and off since early November. I’ve never had heartburn but wake up in the morning with an acidic taste in my mouth. Had an endoscopy that showed mild gastritis but esophagus looked good. Barium swallow showed GERD but I swear I never really experience heartburn. My problem is my THROAT!!! I DO have anxiety and stress but have managed it through yoga and exercise. My ENT put me on protonix after finding an ulcer in my throat. When I asked if I could have LPR she said it was the same thing as GERD!! I’m getting more depressed as my throat has been sore for a solid week and a half with no relief. I feel like there is a rock in my throat when I swallow, excessive muscus that I can’t keep swallowed down (if that makes sense) I go back to ENT in a week to see if protonix has healed my ulcer and guess we will go from there! Also, when I lay down the neck pain gets worse. I just sleep sitting up. Is this the same symptoms that you experience! I also have constant clearing of throat and chronic cough!

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Yes Jenny I have had all of them symptoms before. It sounds just like LPR and it also sounds like your ENT doctor isn’t the best person to be taking advice from. A low acid diet like my wipeout diet and taking gaviscon advance after meals and before bed is definitely what I would recommend you to do.

  7. Avatar for Luke

    Hi David,

    Great article.

    I suffer from debilitating health anxiety that affects me, not all the time, but I can have bad bouts of it for up to 6 months. I get anxious about a range of things and am always ok but I Always get LPR symptoms with my severe anxiety.

    Then once my situation changes and I get out of my anxiety ridden stage all the symptoms dissappear.

    I am currently going through it right now. Thinking I have corona virus when actually I am pretty sure it is LPR back again. Hard to tell the anxious mind though. For me personally I never experience any LPR symptoms when I am not anxious, but they can become quite hard to live with when they come on.

    Thanks,

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Hey Luke, Thank you. Yes of course Anxiety only makes things worse. Try and focus on lessening the anxiety the best you can and of course as you mentioned things should improve over time.

      1. Avatar for Lisa

        Hi, I’ve been suffering with throat problems for around 5 months now started with like a burning sore throat and feels like somethings irritating it and a feeling of dust in the back of the throat I have a feeling of wanting to cough and feeling of wanting to clear my throat all the time. I’ve had endoscopies in the past and have been told I have acid reflux I’ve been on PPIs for many years now and have doubled up in the dose to see if it will help the problem but no luck. I’ve not been getting any indigestion or heartburn just alot of throat problems and sometimes it can affect my breathing so could I be suffering from Lpr? I’m getting very anxious as to why the tablets aren’t working and keep thinking it’s a symptom of the virus please help!!

        1. Avatar for David Gray

          Hi Lisa,
          Definitely sounds like LPR from what you have mentioned here. The cough and the breathing issues are both related to LPR.

    2. Avatar for Nagina

      Thank GoD ,I found one person who is feeling same at this time.i have same symptoms since 2 months.lpr ,I also have sinus issues and I throat Phlem in throat in the morning ,acid reflux even after medicine and good meals also sometime

  8. Avatar for Robin Hawn

    Hi,
    I think LPR is what I have I have been having strong chemical like smell could this be LPR? and how do you find an ENT that is familiar with this?

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      It could be Robin though it’s hard to say confidently from that alone. Try to find a doctor that specializes in LPR though it may be challenging to find one.

  9. Avatar for Wendy

    Hi David. I am grateful for your wipeout diet program and all your answers to everyone’s questions. I also have health anxiety and had never had LPR symptoms before. Then after 3 weeks of severe anxiety over COVID, I literally woke up one morning with excruciating burning pain in my throat, esophagus and airway. I was diagnosed over the phone with GERD and put on PPI’s. I believe I have LPR based on symptoms so I ordered and have been on the wipeout diet since April 20th. My worst symptoms are still a fairly severe intermittent sore throat with ear pain that comes and goes throughout the day, sometimes lasting a short time and sometimes several hours. I’m being very strict with the diet and I can’t really pin it on any trigger food because it seems to change. I can get that reaction from almost anything I eat from oatmeal to turkey breast. Is it possible that I need more time to get throat relief? Also, I’ve been on PPI’s twice a day for a month and want to get off. They don’t really seem to be helping. I’ve been waiting for Gaviscon Advanced (UK) to become available again on Amazon. Would it be best to incorporate that into my routine before weaning off the Nexium? And if so how would you recommend I do that. Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Hi Wendy,
      It sounds like LPR not GERD from what you have mentioned Wendy.

      You could need more time yes or you could need some more adjustments to your diet, lifestyle etc. It definitely makes sense to have the Gaviscon or something like reflux gourmet to take after meals and before bedtime in your case. Yes I think it would be best to have the gaviscon to make the transition easier before coming off the PPIs. I think that is a good plan.

  10. Avatar for Kate

    Hi I am suffering massively at the mo with what docs feel is LPR. I haven’t had any tests just a rough diagnosis and prescribed lamepraxole which doesnt help and makes my chest and belly sore . My chest often feels tight (sure brought on by health anxiety) which right now is heightened due to covid!! I get symptons of lump in throat, it can travel then to my chest (airways) neck, back, leaves my ears all blocked like I have a cold and makes me panic..then my anxiety gets worse. How do i stop this at the time? I mediate, relax when I can but I’m a mum to young girls so can’t completely relax. Some days I feel like maybe there are more underlying issues! Which then makes me 10 times more anx!! All these symptoms started back 7 months ago when a nut got lodged in my side of my throat. The next day I could hardly speak and had a sore and hoarse voice! I’ve damaged my esophogus obviously and ever since have had all the above symptons that are all different from day to day. Help! Deffo gunna try the low acid diet (have ordered a book) and should I avoid taking my lameprszole 30mg which I only take when my symptoms are bad, n the morning?
    Sorry for long message i need some relief and guidance. Thanks

    1. Avatar for David Gray

      Hi Kate,
      If you are doing a low acid diet that is a good start. I definitely suggest trying to calm the anxiety as best you can. That will definitely help you feel better both in terms of overall health and acid reflux too. I personally find some like exercise even a 30 minute walk daily a great way to help with it.

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