Hi all, I found this board doing a ****** search. Healthboards.com seems to be quite popular, with MILLIONS of postings so I figured this would be the best place for me to come for this problem and general health talk.
I first started experiencing acid reflux back in 2004. I am a 34 year old male and a smoker
...I know I know, but I have managed to cut back about 3/4 of what I was smoking and I smoke outside only. I'm still working on becoming a non-smoker. Currently I'm on Zyban and soon will probably switch over to the patch. Anyways moving on...
Back in 2004 I noticed what felt to be a tiny lump, dot or whatever in the back of my throat. Whenever I would swallow I would feel it and the feeling seemd to be connected with my left ear...when I would swallow I would feel the 'lump' and then I would immediately feel 'pressure' in my left ear. It scared me, so I went to see a ENT. I was 'scoped' (not sure if I'm using the correct term here but 'scoping' means when they put that long, skinny tube up your nose and down the back of your throat to look at everything). I had no tumors or anything like that, the Dr. said that what I was experiencing was acid reflux. She said the reason why I was feeling the effect in my ear was because the ears have 'connections' with the back of the throat and sometimes you get a 'bouncing effect' from this. They told me to take Prilosec and told me that I really needed to work on my smoking problem (at this time I was smoking two packs a day)! The medication seemed to do the trick and I wouldn't have any problems for months at a time, then it would come back and I would either take Prilosec again or my regular Dr. gave me a prescription for Protonix, so I wouldn't have to pay out of pocket expenses for the Prilosec.
Anyways, in the fall of 2006 (last year), is when I really started to work on my smoking. I managed to cut back from 2 packs a day to 1 pack a day by smoking outside only. Now, I am between 1/2 a pack and a pack a day, still only smoking outside. BUT my acid reflux problem has gotten pretty bad, starting back in the fall of last year. I have had numerous 'scopes' by my ENT, they continue to say that the acid reflux is getting so bad that it has inflammed my vocal chords which is making the acid reflux even worse for me. My vocal chords are 'strained', there are certain pitches in my voice that I can't reach anymore (high pitches), I asked my ENT about this and he said it's because of the vocal chords being inflammed frorm the acid...but it is very scary! I keep trying to make myself believe that I have throat cancer, even though I know I don't. Now I am experiencing big knot like feelings in my throat, sometimes it feels like it's on one side of my throat, other times it feels like it's on the other side, or behind my adams apple, etc. I am now taking Protonix again, they wanted me to take Nexium but my insurance company won't pay for it, so they had to change the prescription to Protonix. The Protonix doesn't seem to be improving the problem at all, I go back for a check up with my ENT on April 14th! My most recent appointment was back in February of this year...this is when he prescribed me Nexium but then it had to be switched to Protonix because of insurance reasons. He also told me he wanted me to buy 'bed blocks' to raise the head of my bed 6-8 inches! I was like you are kidding, right? That is pretty high! All I can find in the stores are blocks that raise you anywhere from 3"-3 1/2". And my bed is a king size bed, I'm afraid if I raise it to high, it's going to be come unstable. Does anyone have experience with these things? For those of you who don't know, 'bed blocks' raise the head of your bed, so at night you sleep with your upper body facing up a hill...so to speak...to help keep the acid from creeping up into your throat while you sleep. I have yet to buy them...I know he is going to be ****** when I go back in in April!
Things I have noticed...
When I'm really suffering from the acid reflux, if I take a hot shower, it seems to REALLY subside the symptoms almost INSTANTLY! What I mean by this is the discomfort that acid reflux can cause, it virtually goes away (temporary of course).
I also take Xanax for anxiety problems. If my acid reflux is really causing me discomfort, if I take a Xanax pill, about 15-20 minutes later it's as if it's gone! Now Xanax is not a pain pill, so that is not why it's going away. Xanax calms you down, and what I think is happening is that I might be so worried about all of this, that I could sub-conciously be 'kicking up my reflux problem' that causes it to get worse almost instantly. So I think that the Xanax is helping me.
I have also noticed that if I'm feeling discomfort, and I go out for a walk or something (or just be active all together) instead of just being a couch potatoe, the discomfort also pretty much relieves itself in a short amout of time.
I am taking notes about all of these experiences to take into my ENT when I go in, come April.
I also experience a 'flare up' if I eat cheese! For instance, I went out lastnight to exercise and half way through exercising I noticed that my discomfort was once again almost all gone. When I got back home, I did somethings online, watched a bit of TV, etc. I then went out into the kitchen and got 2 slices of cheese, almost instantly after eating the cheese, my acid reflux started 'kicking in' big time! So I'm assuming dairy products are not good for people with this disease?
Anyways I try not to come onto the internet to discuss health problems because there is a lot of people online who try to self diagnose people, giving wrong information, etc, scaring the hell out of people. Not only that but I find myself Googling problems that I have and before you know it, I'm convinced I have this, that and that and I have worked myself up into a huge frenzy! So I try not to do this anymore, but at the same time, I felt it would be good for me to find a board online, where I could discuss my problems with other people who are having the same problems as I am, so I won't feel so alone in this.
Anyways back to the acid reflux, will I ever be able to get this under control or is this going to be a daily problem for me for the rest of my life? It scares me to have to live like this, it's very uncomfortable!
Anyways I look forward to discussing this problem that all of us seem to have here and I'm glad I found this site.