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Hannah Bornstein

Condition: Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR or silent reflux)

Diagnosed Year: 26

Foods I Love:

liquid aminos
nutritional yeast

Foods I Avoid:

Coffee (even decaf)
anything spicy

My Story

As a fitness instructor and vocalist, I use my voice for everything that I do. So when I started to regularly lose my upper vocal register and sometimes my whole voice altogether, I became very concerned. When I saw an ENT and had my vocal chords scoped, there were not any nodules, but they were very inflamed. It was then that I was diagnosed with LPR. This type of reflux often goes undiagnosed because most people don’t have associated heartburn to go with it – the acid “silently” splashes up from the stomach into the back of the throat and scars your voice box (larynx). In my case, it was making me sound like Harvey Fierstein – not cute for a petite fitness instructor!

The ENT tried to immediately prescribe acid blockers to prevent the symptoms. I refused, knowing that a true solution through food and lifestyle changes was the only real way to heal, instead of slapping a band-aid on the problem. The recommendation was an extremely low-acid diet, as well as not eating 4 hours before bed or directly before exercising. After following this program for about six weeks, my voice was back and I finally felt like myself again.

The journey has been difficult, and I still struggle with staying strict enough on the program to maintain ultimate vocal health. I am not perfect, and sometimes indulge in foods and practices that I know will impact my voice negatively. However, I now have the knowledge and tools that I need to make better choices on a daily basis, and make decisions that allow me to stay healthy and still enjoy my life! I hope to share my story with others who may struggle with the same issue so that we can all find our voices together!

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