I have struggled with heartburn for probably 15 years. I changed my diet and lost a bunch of weight about 5 years ago, and all my problems seemed to go away. The heartburn problem has recently returned, despite my attempts at controlling it with diet. I actually used to think that those who opted for acid reflux drugs were copping out because they didn't want to change their lifestyles... but I don't think that way anymore.
About two months ago, I started popping Tums again after just about every meal. About 5 weeks ago, I developed some pretty severe heartburn, and started having a persistent, raspy cough (my wife says I sound like a seal barking).
At first I thought I had a chest virus, or maybe a moderate case of pneumonia... so I started taking an expectorant/cough suppressant. After going through two weeks worth of Robitussin (two full bottles), I finally gave up and hoped it would go away.
Somewhere in that time, I also developed some chest and back pain (which started with another heartburn episode), accompanied by difficulty swallowing and burping. It was advised that I go to the ER, where they took an EKG and a chest Xray... both of which were perfect.
The ER doc determined that I had GERD, with this being an extreme episode combined with heavy gas buildup (thanks to my own Mexican food, loaded with onions and peppers). He gave me the option of picking up a prescription of 20MG Pepcid, or waiting it out and picking it up later... I opted for the latter (big mistake).
Well, two weeks later, my cough was still there. So, I went into my regular doctor. She thought that my cough (now at 4+ weeks) was due to bronchitis, and that this was too long for a virus... so she prescribed a 5-day treatment of Zithromax. It is now 7 days later, and the cough is still there...
Finally, after 5 weeks of living with irritated bronchial tubes and esophagus (can't breathe deep without coughing), a raspy cough, hacking up phlegm, night sweats, etc. I went in and picked up my Pepcid prescription. I am hoping this will do the trick, as I am pretty much at a loss if it doesn't...
Has anyone here had similar experiences with GERD?
Yes Jethro, GERD has many symptoms. One of my biggest problems is not so much the coughing, but I need to clear my throat constantly. Could be some bile coming up too. GERD can also give you pain in many areas you would never think of, like throat, ears, jaw pain, shoulder pain, chest pain, arm pain.
As long as your exrays were fine I would expect it to be GERD. Get it checked out and stay on your PPI's because GERD can become worse.
It sounds like you have LPR as well as GERD. LPR is "Laryngeal Pharyngeal Reflux". It simply means that your acid is now traveling up your esophagous north to your larynx. Unlike esophogeal reflux (GERD), when acid hits your Larynx, you'll start coughing like a seal. The Larynx has no natural protection against acid. It takes only a very tiny amount of acid to cause Laryngeal injury - just a little needs to escape the upper esophageal valve. Once it gets up there, it can cause all sorts of problems, like extreme mucus and massive sinustis, because now you have acid that will start burning holes and causing irritation all throughout your sinuses, because the mucus will spread the acid all around. It gets even better when you aspirate this stuff into your lungs - because it mimics bronchitis very easily. It's treatable.
The drugs are the same, the dosage requirement is different. To treat LPR, you must take 2 doses of your PPI every day. My doctor told me that with LPR, Nexium is most effective in her patients. That has also been my experience. Previcid did nothing for me. There is a reason that Nexium is so expensive - it tends to work better. Tums won't help, OTCs will not help. DOn't even bother with Prilosec OTC as you have a long history of GERD. Just get a prescription for Nexium 2x a day, and see how you feel. I went from contemplating suicide to 95% recovery all in the same day that I was given the 2 nexium pills. Many doctors have never heard of LPR and I was misdiagnosed with bronchitis, asthma, allergies and sinusitis. It turns out that all these things are frequently related to LPR - with acid being the cause.
Hi, I have bad acid reflux (I guess that is GERD??), and all of the information on here is so helpful! I was wondering a couple of things, first of all, I didn't think about the sinus thing, and it's so weird because I recently went to the dentist for a toothache, and he happened to mention that my sinuses looked "cloudy" on a x-ray. Could that be from acid reflux? Also, I am worried because I've had this for years, and just kind of treat it myself with Pepcid, and trying not to lay down too soon after a meal. If I do those things, I can pretty much control it. I get it really severe when I lay down too soon after drinking milk, or eating chocolate, stuff like that. I've woken up many times coughing with terrible acid coming up, and then hours of wheezing. It takes time to go away once you wake up with it, and then I just stay up for a while. My question is, do you think, if I've had this for years, that it could have caused cancer by now? Is that something that is really common with GERD, or is GERD pretty common, and cancer with that would be rare? I'm very nervous about going in to do an endoscopy, because I also have heart palpitations, and am nervous that a tube going down so close to my heart could trigger something. Can a doctor just diagnose GERD due to the symptoms that you are having, and not do an endoscopy? Well, thanks for any help! Good luck to all of you, Val
Doctors diagnose GERD and LRP all the time, without endoscopies. Basically, if the medication is effective at treating the symptoms, they can deduce that the cause is GERD/LPR. The main benefit of doing an endoscopy is determining the total extenet of existing damage to the esophagous - for instance, looking for evidence of changes that would indicate Barret's Esophagous, for example. But even if you had Barrett's, you would still need to begin the 2x daily dosing with a PPI like Nexium anyway!
An endoscopy is painless. The doctor puts you under general anasthesia. I wouldn't worry about it - I've had one. The worst part for me was getting the IV in my hand. The darn nurse kept missing the vein. Then I was asleep and I felt nothing.
Look - what you need to do is 1) tell your doctor that you think you might have acid reflux, either GERD or LPR and 2) ask her for samples of Nexium. Tell her that your acid is causing laryngeal problems and is getting into your lungs - so you want to try 2 doses a day. Period. If it works, it works immediately. I sweat to that. Improvement can take place over weekes, but 90% of my improvement was in the first day.
wow after so many posts, I definately must have this Laryngeal Pharyngeal Reflux, I am going through so much guys without eating for 2 months, just drinking ensure i just hope thie acidphex helps, i alos have nexium but i stopped taking it i was on once a day, anyway my ears feel full and pop and my sinus hurts so bad and i feel like i have a cold, my jaw, left arm hurt bad and thats never happened and also my shoulder hurts too, i swore i had heart problems, and all is negative.
anyway i feel that horrible feeling in my throat and its so hard to swallow anything, goodness its so hard to belive that acid caan cause this mess, doc said it was asthma, allergies, an finally one tells me i have this Laryngeal Pharyngeal Reflux
anyway i have a bad case of it since itsgone on for 2 months without really being treated since i didnt take nexium daily, can anyone tell me how long it will take to feel better? I am so glad to have found this post since i had no idea this was the issue going on with me, i wonder if the gastro doc can tell em for sure that this is what I have. when he stretches my esophagus next week.
anyway have any ofyou felt like you were choking when trying to swallow? and also the food goes down sooo super slow for me its unreal, feels liek its stays stuck in my throat. and also the fullness in the throat feels like when i had tonsils and had a bad infection and couldnt swallow, man i just hope this nightmare is over soon, thx guys
Hi and yes i also feel like I am short of breath I have been told I have asthma and this happened out of the blue.. now i am confused because I am not sure if maybe this is what has mae me short of breath, i also have a constant cough i have been using teh nebulizers/inhalers daily and soem times they just dont help me at all
here is a list of the symptoms, by the way i also get apnea and wake up gasping for air that kept me awake last night isnt it amazing how acid can just mess your life up
Continual throat clearing
Chronic throat irritation
Excessive phlegm the throat
Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
Constant sensation of something in the throat
Swallowed food comes back up
Post nasal drainage
Blockage of the breathing passage
Spasm of the larynx (voice box)
Recurrent mouth ulcers: These are particularly common when the patient has an associated burning in the mouth.
by the way another weird symptom i had and never realized it was a litle noise in my belly that would run up to my throat like a zzzz sound, like the sound soda makes when your pouring it, I guess that must be the acid going up, I also felt a burning sensation in my chest, I am feeling it now as i type this, my throat feels better and i took the nexium 3 hrs ago! i just know this med will help me
Most of those symptoms I have as well. I have the feeling of something in my throat. Now it is toward the back of my throat and down toward where my chest bone starts. I have also had food come back up. Isn't that gross I have had a stomach ache for days too but that is gone and I have a sore throat I have from the constint clearing of the throat and coughing to try and clear my throat. I am on a PPI Protonix and we'll see what happens. I was on Zantax and it worked too, but this is a bit stronger they say and I have to stay on it 6 weeks. I've been on this for 3 days now. I try and drink water as much as I can. 8-12 glasses of water to relief my throat and stop the coughing I do to clear it. I have had two doctors tell me that is what it is and not to worry about anything else. Of course we do, but I figure if this sore throat doesn't go away in a week, then I might worry more. GL and I hope you start feeling better. Jay
Hi jay i also feel sick, i started teh nexium and feel better but still cant eat it seems that my esophagus/thraot are so sore that the food wont go down, its terrible i am so hungry and frustrted, even eating mashed potatoes is hard it just wont go down, all that goes down is ensure shakes, i just wish i feel better the holidays are coming and its horrible, a total nightmare everyone eats while i just sip on a shake, yuck!
how long did it take you guys to be able to eat its been 2 months for me now, by teh way i bought aloe vera juice/honey and am drinking some to see if it helps soothe the throat, i had no idea acid could be this cruel, ohh and i also have a painful urine infection I am now thinking that this acid is really messing up my body! ahhh