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Old 08-07-2008, 10:02 PM   #1
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'breathing' acid reflux

Anyone out there feel like you are 'breathing up' acid without any heartburn?

I've typically had a chronic cough with my reflux (6 yrs). Been on a variety of PPI's over the years. Things got much worse over the summer. This week I switched to Zegerid. Since then, I have "felt" the acid coming up, but it isn't heartburn. It just feels like a mist of acid coming up. Also started with the throat clearing and extra swallowing too.

Zegerid is basically the last hope I have with the medications so I plan on staying on it for a bit. I am concerned about my change in symptoms though. It's frustrating.

I go for another 24hr pH and manometry on the 19th. I have to go off all PPI's for a week before and the other meds several days before. Between the coughing and my new symptoms, I know I am in for a miserable time next week. I also have to anticipate that my asthma will flare at the same time too. The acid has been triggering my asthma and breathing problems all summer.

Any input would be appreciated.

 
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:36 PM   #2
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

I don't get the typical breathing problems associated with acid either BUT my husband was having these same kind of symptoms you are describing and he's never had GERD or Asthma. Four days later he was in hospital after the 3rd heart attack awaiting surgery.

Not to scare you but don't mess with breathing problems. I watched my mom die from them.

CharBerry

 
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:52 AM   #3
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

every day for about 2 years.on 40 mg nexium,helps a little but doesnt stop it.phil.

 
Old 08-09-2008, 09:13 PM   #4
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

Mountain,

when you cough, does your cough sound weird? Sort of mushy, liquidy, not at all sharp, clear or loud. Mine does sometimes. It used to happen only at night while I was lying down. Now I hear myself making this sound sometimes during the day when I cough. Not always, just here and there. It does not sound natural. The rest of the time the cough sounds normal.

I have been wondering if the acid could be getting into my lungs. I wonder if it is possible for it to be inhaled only sometimes, but not everytime the acid comes up. Or, perhaps, if the cough comes from the vocal cords and the acid gets incorporated into the cough. I don't know the mechanism of coughing, and where it originates. It all probably sounds very silly.

Good luck with your test!

FG

 
Old 08-10-2008, 03:44 AM   #5
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

Hi there. I can understand completely where you are coming from. It only happens to me when I lie down but I hear what I can only describe as a creaking sound in my throat and down between my breast bone. This has only happened the last week or so. Cough is still driving me mad. I wake up every morning with a burning sensation in my throat and sore ears - just like you would feel when developing a common cold/cough.

 
Old 08-10-2008, 12:16 PM   #6
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

We seem to go through different stages of reflux/LPR. Charberry has had hers for ten years and mentioned how her symptoms, their frequency and intensity change over time. I am starting to see some of that now.
I don't choke as much, for instance. That's nice. Then again, I have more earaches. (that's definitely NOT nice). And so on.

But I still have that funny sounding cough. I know it is possible for the acid to find its way into the lungs. That is definitely not a good thing. I wonder if there is a way to tell one type of congestion (as from a cold) from another (the one caused by the acid).

 
Old 08-11-2008, 06:07 AM   #7
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

I have had breathing and coughing problems for a minimum of 2 years now and going from Dr. to Dr. to try to get some definite diagnosis and treatment. Thank goodness a new pulmonologist performed a bronchosopy on me recently, he found I had trachea stenosis. This caused shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Very similiar symptoms to asthma. I hope I can share my experience and others can get relief if they find out they have the same. I am now recovering from my surgery I had 4 days ago. I can definitely breath better! NOT a lot of Dr's know much about this condition. Find a good Otolaryngologist that specializes in the "larynyx area".

 
Old 08-17-2008, 09:22 PM   #8
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

flowergirl,
My cough is a dry cough that is hard to stop when it starts. It is a definite sign of "silent reflux" often called LPR.

I have asthma and reflux that both have a chronic cough as the primary symptom. At times, I can't tell the difference. I have been in to see the doctor several times this summer thinking it was an asthma flare-up and finding out it was just the acid. It took having the doctor listen to my lungs for me to tell.

Right now both my asthma and reflux are not under control. My Pulmonologist said I couldn't get the asthma under control until the reflux is under control. So far nothing has worked to get my reflux under control.

I went in to the doc in early June with "cold" or allergy symptoms. I was getting ready to go out of town for a week so I went to the doctor because I was worried it was heading into another sinus infection. Turns out that my "cold" symptoms were early warning signs of an asthma attack. If I hadn't gone in when I did, there is a good chance I might have had a serious asthma attack while I was on vacation. (I have a thread on asthma early warning signs on the asthma board.)

Yes, acid can be aspirated into the lungs. I had a test to check for this. The Modified Barium Swallow and Esophagram can check for this. Found out during this test that I have some aspiration and frequent incidents of "almost" aspirations. I also found out I had developed a sliding hiatal hernia in the last two years. Probably from all of the coughing I have been doing.

Only good thing I have figured from 2 1/2 months of constant coughing: my abs are getting a good workout.

Going in Tuesday for another 24 hr pH. They will be using this as a final test before recommending stomach surgery. I scheduled a second opinion appt with a specialist recommended from a local university hospital. That will be at the end of September. Long wait, but it can't hurt to get another expert opinion.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 10:21 PM   #9
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

mountainreader,

Quote:
Right now both my asthma and reflux are not under control. My Pulmonologist said I couldn't get the asthma under control until the reflux is under control. So far nothing has worked to get my reflux under control.
This is a typical catch 22. The problem is that one condition exacerbates the other. The asthma sufereres often get acid reflux, while people with acid reflux often develop asthma. These two conditions go hand in hand. How can you possibly get either under control? I think your pulmonologist is asking the impossible.

Quote:
Yes, acid can be aspirated into the lungs. I had a test to check for this. The Modified Barium Swallow and Esophagram can check for this. Found out during this test that I have some aspiration and frequent incidents of "almost" aspirations. I also found out I had developed a sliding hiatal hernia in the last two years. Probably from all of the coughing I have been doing.
I have been wondering about that as well. While I had only one hernia until recently, (hiatal) - also probably from the coughing and choking, I now have two. The other one is the bulging type that needs to be fixed. Personally, I think it is from the coughing and choking. I don't know exactly what other causes there are. The way my cough sounds sometimes - raw, wet and very unnatural (I know that is not very descriptive ) makes me think some of the goop is getting into my lungs.

Quote:
Only good thing I have figured from 2 1/2 months of constant coughing: my abs are getting a good workout.
Very funny!!! So long as you don't get another hernia like I did. Try to watch yourself.
Would it be possible to let me know which doctor had ordered your tests? They both sound as if they should be done at the radiology department, and not at a pulmonologists'. I had the upper GI done at the radiology.
Good luck with your test. Have you asked if they could fix your hernia during the stomach surgery? They will fix hiatal hernias if they are causing the acid to be aspirated into the lungs. What surgery will they be considering? Fundoplication? The more opinions one gets, the better. I've had two conflicting ones about the hernias (an immediate surgery versus no surgery now, perhaps later) and am very confused. I think I need a third opinion. I am seeing a doctor tomorrow who fixes them to set up an endoscopy. I will ask for his opinion. I might end up even more confused.

Best of luck with the ph testing. Let us know how it goes. Meanwhile, read up on the surgery.
flowergirl

 
Old 08-17-2008, 11:31 PM   #10
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

Hi flowergirl,

I'm trying to be careful with the coughing. It's hard though. It is almost non-stop at times. It helps to tighten my core muscles when I cough. A few years ago, I pulled some muscles and hurt a rib going through this same thing. (That one lasted 4 months.)

As for the tests, here is what I have had done by various doctors for the cough:

Pulmonologist: chest x-ray, TB test, pulmonary function testing, referral to hospital speech department radiology for Barium Swallow and Esophagram

Primary care: chest x-ray (last week-4 mos apart), blood tests (again last week)

Gastroenterologist: 3 years ago- endoscopy, manometry, 24 hr. pH. This summer: endoscopy, manometry and 24 hr pH on Tuesday- procedure center located in the specialty building now.

ENT: currently receiving immunotherapy. Had CT scan about a year ago for sinuses. Their office does a 24 hr pH with the UES. Haven't requested that yet. Waiting to see what comes from the GI doc.

I went on Prevacid 2x/day 3 years ago. My cough pretty much went away at the time. With the "silent" reflux, I thought I had it under control. My asthma triggers were mostly environmental- cold air, pollution, chemicals, etc... When I had the Modified Barium Swallow and Esophagram, it showed that despite the Prevacid I still had acid actively coming up. My Pulm referred me back to my GI doc. At the beginning of June, they switched me to Nexium and had me on it for a month--one dose or two, my reflux was worse than I have ever had and I developed symptoms I had never had before. On Nexium I was really sick the entire month and I ended up on Prednisone. I then went on Aciphex for 5 weeks. Spent one week on one per day, then the rest on 2 per day. I ended up on Prednisone with bad asthma again. I went on Zegrid a couple weeks ago. My cough is no better. Even if it worked though, it is on the list of meds absolutely not covered by my insurance, not even as a non-preffered. Ironically, I felt much better on the Prevacid even though my asthma was still having problems. I don't think there are any PPI's left for me to try. (Went through Prilosec and Protonix in years prior.)

It is the Nissen Fundoplication that they are discussing. Yes they would fix the hernia if they do the surgery. Ironically, it is what my Pulmonologist recommended back in May. Even though it is a wait of 6 weeks, I do want to get the other opinion at the U first before surgery though. Based on what I have read on the internet, GERD that causes respiratory problems is one of the considerations for the Fundoplication.

Keep us posted on your doctor's appointment tomorrow.

 
Old 08-18-2008, 08:38 AM   #11
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

Mountainreader,

It seems you're going around in circles, getting nowhere, I am sorry to say. I can identify with that. I think the main problem is that some of us have more than one issue going on. That makes treating any particular condition that much more difficult. I can NEVER get a clear cut answer to anything. That is because there are usually several very good possibilities and no one has the time or resources to keep ruling things out and investigate further. I too suffer with a shortness of breath (they say asthma) during an activity and often at rest.

Quote:
they switched me to Nexium and had me on it for a month--one dose or two, my reflux was worse than I have ever had and I developed symptoms I had never had before. On Nexium I was really sick the entire month and I ended up on Prednisone.
There are so many of us with an identical experience with the Nexium. I swear that Nexium is what made my acid reflux SURFACE. I'd had NONE of GERD symptoms before the Nexium therapy, except nausea. The symptoms started to develop in a rapid succession after I started taking the pills. The longer I took the pills, the sicker I got and the more symptoms I developed. It could be that in some cases, (such as yours and mine), it is the actual use of this drug that CAUSES a full-blown reflux to develop. I am glad you've been able to stop using it. I tried to recently and got sicker. Now I have two drugs for digestion - Reglan and Nexium. It just keeps getting worse.
I think the best thing I could do for myself would be to stop taking all my pills. I take way too many, some of which have gastric side effects. If I learn anything at the appointment, I will post it. I am leaving for a week to visit my son and his family. I hope my stomach remains OK for the duration of my visit. I am having some issues with it even now. I am a bit afraid of the hernias acting up while I am away from my doctors.

Best of luck with your test.
flowergirl

 
Old 08-19-2008, 07:54 AM   #12
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

Yes, I get this too. The feeling of "Thick liquid" in the throat. I always felt it was allergy related, but now I have been diagnosed as having that AND acid reflux- Doc thinks its LPR actually. I will get the feeling of "coughing" stuff up after eating and I've even coughed up food that I just ate-though I used to choke on it I don't as much anymore as I had the surgery- the endoscopy with the dilitation of the esophogus. I can't say it solved all my problems though as I still constantly have "wet stuff" in my throat allll the time but at least I choke much LESS.

Does anyone else get MUCH worse if they have to go outside in extreme heat? I live in the South and its HOT-major contrast from indoors and when I walk outside just to go home at the end of the day at work, I can barely breath from the temp change. Just curious as to if this is reflux related or what.
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Old 08-24-2008, 05:54 PM   #13
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

Quote:
Originally Posted by rush_rulz View Post
Does anyone else get MUCH worse if they have to go outside in extreme heat? I live in the South and its HOT-major contrast from indoors and when I walk outside just to go home at the end of the day at work, I can barely breath from the temp change. Just curious as to if this is reflux related or what.
IMO, it's more the humidity in combination with the heat. On the few dry heat days we have in August, I can breath and feel much better than on the normal, muggy summer days. I don't know how much the breathing issues are connected to acid reflux, but I do have that along with swelling in the throat (also allergies, but not asthma). It's strange for me, because I was always an outdoor person - now I mostly stay in AC indoors, which I know isn't totally healthy either.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 07:06 PM   #14
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

I've been having some testing for my reflux this month. I had a follow-up appointment with my GI doc today and got the results of my pH and motility testing. I was expecting it to not show much since I felt pretty good on the day of the testing. (Thought it was a Murphy's Law sort of thing since I have spent the last 3 months with reflux problems and they were good on the day of the test.) Turns out even though I was feeling good, I was refluxing 49% of my day. 14% is normal and I was at 40% a few years ago so it has gotten worse. My doc said I must have a cast iron stomach since I don't have any symptoms of erosion in my esophagus or any other stomach problems.

I have had my reflux related severe coughing and breathing problems for 3 months straight and there are no more PPI's available for me to try. Guess my next step is a visit with a surgeon to discuss the Nissen Fundoplication. Surgery is a drastic step, but I figure not being able to breathe well is pretty serious too.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 10:30 PM   #15
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Re: 'breathing' acid reflux

Mountain,

are you SURE your breathing problems are a result of your reflux? Before you agree to the surgery, please explore the other possible reasons for your SOB. You mentioned you had asthma. How do you know your breathing problems are not asthma related? Ditto for your cough. I know it is a lot to have to deal with, especially since the medication does not seem to help. Do your research regarding the surgery. Some people who have had it done would tell you that this type of a surgery was not the answer to their problems.

Best of luck,
flowergirl

 
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