People of any age and sex can develop silent reflux. Some people, however, may be more likely to develop it.
Risk factors for silent reflux include:
- lifestyle factors like diet, overeating, or tobacco or alcohol use
Children and infants may experience reflux more frequently as their upper and lower esophageal sphincter muscles are not strong enough to close. This may improve as they age.
When you eat, food travels from your mouth, down your esophagus, and into your stomach. Then, your gastrointestinal system begins the process of breaking the food down, extracting nutrients, and producing waste.
Sometimes stomach acid may escape back into your esophagus. But your body is designed to prevent this.
Elastic like rings made of special muscle (sphincters) around the bottom and top of your esophagus shrink to keep the contents of your stomach from refluxing back into your esophagus and throat. People with reflux may have a sphincter that does not close properly.
The thin tissue that lines your esophagus is sensitive, and stomach acid is irritating. It can burn and damage the tissue inside your esophagus, throat, and voice box ( larynx). For adults, the most common complications of silent reflux include long-term irritation, tissue scarring, ulcers, and increased risk for certain cancers.
If not treated properly in children and infants, silent reflux can cause:
- breathing problems
- frequent coughing
- difficulty swallowing
- frequent spitting up
- breathing disorders, such as pauses in breathing. You may suffer from frequent waking up at night
Please talk with Your Gastroenterologist if you suffer any of symptoms described above.