Q What is the relationship between laryngopharyngeal reflux and sleep? Can LPR cause sleep disturbances and fatigue the next day?

Professor Peter Dettmar says: “There is a lot of evidence and published literature on the relationship between gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and sleep apnoea.

Sleep apnoea (or apnea) is a common condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing and occasionally leading to choking, snorting or gasping.

Recent studies have shown that treatment of GERD has a significant impact on the reduction of sleep apnea.

We know that GERD will cause sleep disturbance and that treatment for GERD and reflux disease will help elevate the sleep apnoea although often not completely but certainly it will improve it.

Read more about sleep apnea here.

However, when it comes to laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), studies are lacking although we do know that patients presenting with LPR will have a multitude of symptoms, including coughing, sore throat, respiratory and breathing difficulties, asthma and blocked sinuses.

All of which make sleeping difficult. Plus, sleep disturbance will lead to next-day fatigue.

We believe there is a relationship between LPR and sleep disturbance. One recent study has suggested a high incidence of LPR (45.2 per cent) in obstructive sleep apnoea patients. Another study suggests obstructive sleep apnea patients demonstrate worse chronic cough and LPR-related quality of life versus non-OSA patients.

We think it is an area that needs investigation, clinical studies and documentation.”