I'm new to the forum as my doctor and I suspect that I have GER or GERD. I'm hoping others can identify with my experience and symptoms so that I can relax a bit.
In late October I began experiencing an intermittent pain in my upper back that did not resemble muscle pain but felt like something was stuck. The feeling worsened after eating. I also was experiencing an intermittent stinging pain in my upper right breast. These two pains sort of seemed connected. I saw my gynecologist for this. He did a breast exam and did not seem concerned. Overall, these pains were not chronic or that uncomfortable. They seemed to go away for a few weeks.
In November I got a bad cold that was tough to shake. I went to the doctor who prescribed antibiotics. I started the antibiotics a day before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving I got gastritis (stomach flu) accompanied by terrible pain in my upper back area around the shoulder blades. After 24 hours, the worst of it passed, though I still had a bit of back pain and nausea. I went back on the antibiotics and nearly finished them.
Since then, the back pain has become chronic and has worsened. Sometimes it is concentrated on the right, other times on the left. I've been experiencing a bit of tingling and numbness in my left arm and hand. Sometimes I feel it a bit in my right arm as well. The back pain often feels like a tingling burning that also spreads across my chest. Sometimes a cool tingly feeling rises up into my neck and face. This is weird. The lymphatic system around my breasts is swollen (not related menstruation) and there's some swelling of lymph nodes in my neck but nothing dramatic.
I love food and my appetite has been dramatically reduced. I've never experienced anything like it. In the morning I have nausea and when I finally get up an appetite in the afternoon, I try to eat a bit and my symptoms (back/chest pain/burning and tingling sensations) get worse. I doubt I ate over 500 calories today. There have been some feelings of indigestion in the past weeks also -- mostly an annoying bubbling in my stomach-- but no feelings like heart burn. I have not had a problem with heart burn since I was pregnant 4 years ago, and even then it was taken care of with over-the-counter stuff. I have no pain in my abdomen, stomach or throat.
I have been to my doctor 2 times since the beginning of December. He suspects I have GER and proscribed generic Prilosec, which I started today. I'm also taking Gaviscon, which provides mild relief. I'm following my doctor's advice and staying away from foods and drinks that aggravate GER like coffee, carbonated drinks, dairy, chocolate and other obvious aggressors like spicy and Italian food.
I'm supposed to give the meds and diet a couple of weeks and then check back in with him. If there isn't significant relief he'll refer me to a get an endoscopy. I hope I can wait that long. The lack of appetite and burning pain is really getting to me and concerning me. I'm hoping it's due to inflammation of my esophagus and will subside if given the chance to heal.
I'm a healthy 36-year-old woman, but have experienced significant stress this year. My diet and lifestyle haven't been terrible, but they haven't been great either. I do not smoke cigarettes but took to smoking some marijuana again this year to help with stress. I stopped over a month ago. I'm not a big drinker.
I'm hoping I have GER or GERD, that it is treatable and it is not something worse, like esophageal cancer. My husband was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's this year and we have a 4-year-old son. I need to be healthy to care for them both.
I appreciate any comments from folks who identify or relate to my symptoms and experience. Thanks.
GERD can cause all kinds of strange symptoms. At my sudden onset I had some of the muscle pain you're talking about, and tingling, etc. I thought I was having heart probs but I'm 37 and healthy (although sometimes a heavy drinker). My symptoms have come and gone, changed over time, etc., and for a while I was trying to convince myself it wasn't GERD-related, but eventually I got a regime that started to help. PPI's never worked for me (Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid), only the OTC H2 blockers like Pepcid and Tagamet. I was only taking these when I felt symptoms, and only once a day per the instructions on the bottle, but when I finally saw a specialist he said take it twice a day, at morning and night, and take it even if I wasn't feeling any bad symptoms. Finally that seemed to help, so I would say consistency is a big part of brining your symptoms under control.
I finally had an endo 10 months after onset and it showed only minor stomach inflammation, nothing in the esophogus and no ulcers. Still, I wonder why sometimes I feel the pain (bloating, bubbling, heaviness) in the middle of my chest. The doctor said all those nerves are connected, so you may feel strange things all over.
A couple things I tried but ultimately could not tell if they worked: taking a magnesium supplement, as mag is supposed to be good for your muscles and nerves, and drinking apple cider vinegar. You might want to research those and try. If you don't think the Prilosec is working for you, try Pepic or Tagamet (generics are fine) twice a day in the morning and night regardless of how you feel, and supplement with Pepto in between if needed. I tried Gaviscon but Pepto also worked better (and went down better).
Definitely get an endoscopy, it will bring you peace of mind knowing exactly what's going on down there. Maybe get a cardiac stress test, too (I did). All of these things will give you peace of mind at least. And report back with results!!
dcguy - Thanks for your reply and suggestions. I'm starting to feel a little better, but change is not dramatic. I'm going to get back in the gym today and see how that feels. I've noticed stress really affects my symptoms so I imagine anything that will provide stress relief will be good. I think I will probably take you up on your advice to get the endoscopy -- peace of mind and hopefully more insight into what's causing the GERD.