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Old 08-31-2007, 11:36 AM   #1
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Another Theory...GERD

After pondering Lenny's post about bruxism causing his eustachian tubes to be affected (partially closed), I did a little more digging and found that GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) can also affect our inner/middle ears and cause many of the problems we discuss here on this board.

I did a little GERD research and found that many of the foods that I am currently avoiding by following my "migraine diet" are also on the list of foods to avoid to eliminate GERD. Hmmmm, coincidence that my ears have been feeling less full?? I think not.

So just something else to look into as possibly a partial cause of your inner ear woes. Acid Reflux can wreak total havoc. I mean, basically your stomach acid is coming up and burning everything in it's path. It can cause eustation Tube Dysfunction, bruxism, sore jaws, sore throat, headaches, off balance, the list goes on and on....

There is an "Acid Reflux" board you can check out. There are some natural remedies for GERD, but again, alot of it is lifestyle changes. Not eating so closely to bedtime, raising the head of your bed, avoiding certain foods, etc. It's worth a try. I know I have been feeling better after following the migraine diet but I am also thinking that a lot of the foods I am avoiding have also reduced the acid reflux at night.

 
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:43 AM   #2
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

Thanks for that Missy , I will try your tips and see if it helps me.
Ive always grinded my teeth, its really interesting.

 
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:32 PM   #3
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

Great point, Missy.

Acid Reflux can cause middle ear problems a couple of ways. By triggering the subconscious night time swallowing that causes micros arousals, leading to bruxism and also by traveling up your esophagus and directly irritating tissue. Both of these can lead to eustachian tube dysfunction.

I know that there have been studies where they actually found stomach acid in the middle ears of children. They also have induced eustachian tube dysfunction in rats by causing them to have acid reflux.

I was surprised when my ENT brought this subject up a couple of days ago. I mentioned it to my family doctor a couple of months ago and she had never heard of it. I think it's one of those things where published info shows a connection but the info doesn't filter to the doctors.

If you have GERD and want to do a test to see if this is causing you grief, I'd recommend a few things:

1. Buy prilosec OTC and take it each morning. If you wanted to take a more serious approach, you could take an evening dose as well. I was on PPIs for almost a decade and I'm not a fan of them for long term use unless it's really necessary ("necessary", IMO, does not mean experiencing annoying heartburn a few times a week). But it's OK to do this for a while. A couple of weeks, I'd say. Doctors prescribe this all the time and proceeding an edoscopy they'll almost always put you on 2 a day. And the dose would be more powerful than Prilosec OTC.

2. Add an H2 antogonist prior to bed time. There's a study I read that found a 75% resurgence of nocturnal acid reflux, even when a PPI is taking in the morning. H2 blockers (Pepsid, Zantac, etc) prevented the night time resurgence in like 96% of patients (If I recall. It was somewhere around there). I take pepsid for this purpose. I'd recommend that you take the maximum dose for this purpose. That would be 20mg. So if you buy the standard dose (10mg), just take 2 of them. My ENT brought this exact subject up the other day and when I told him I was taking the Pepsid he made sure I was taking the maximum dose. He told me that 2 a day PPIs along with the max dose of a H2 blocker is exactly what he recommends for patients having problems like this.

3. Sleep on an incline. The all time best way to do this is to elevate your bed by putting something under the back legs of the bed. This might not be pratical however, so another solution would be to buy one of the elevated pillows. The least effective solution (and for full disclosure, this is the only one I've done ) is to prop up pillows so that your entire torso and head are at an incline. Try to sleep on your left side as this is the best for GERD. Supine (on your back) is the worst.

4. Eat NOTHING after dinner. Yeah, this sucks. If you want to have a dessert, try to make it as far from bed time as possible. Avoid dairy desserts if possible (I told you this part sucks!).

5. My personal recommendation would be to take digestive enzymes with each meal while you are doing this. Something like "Digest Gold", which is a plant based enzyme, would work great for this. Take the max dose. IMO, this will give you much needed assistance in the breakdown of food while the stomach acid is not available (meaning that the PH is too high to do the job).

For more long term GERD control, I'd recommend trying some of the natural remedies that Missy mentioned, including trying to avoid the foods that cause it. I fully believe that stomach acid is necessary (most MDs today seem to consider it to be "optional") and, IMO, long term studies will someday reveal that taking purple pills every day of your life is not good for your overall health.

My 2 cents. Don't mean to hijack your thread, Missy.

Lenny

Last edited by lefta; 08-31-2007 at 12:36 PM.

 
Old 08-31-2007, 12:42 PM   #4
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

hey missy, that's some great info! how have you been feeling lately? i didn't want to start a new thread, but i had posted one about a week ago. i'm 3 months into this crap and still having the 24/7 weirded out shaky vision and off-balance, full ears, and some headaches (but not as bad). how long until you started to have normal days? aren't you 5 months into this or so? i'm just curious as to when i may have at least a normal day....this is sucking really bad and i'm getting really depressed about it. i had to start back college this week and it has been nothing but pure hell. on top of trying to work-just not as many hours- this is ruining my life! just curious....

also, have you decided to try any of the preventative migraine meds--the diamox or verapamil? i'm wondering if an SSRI would help either of us out.

 
Old 08-31-2007, 01:28 PM   #5
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

Excellent info Lenny! It's so interesting how all of these things are tied together into a woven web of whackiness!! No wonder it is so difficult to figure out the root cause of dizziness/ear fullness - it can be so many different things, but at the same time, it can be little bits and pieces from each of those different things (i.e. just one example = "GERD" to "Bruxism" to "Eustation Tube Dysfunction" and/or "TMJ" to "Off Balance/Dizziness" to "Ear Fullness" to "Stress" to "Headaches" to "Anxiety" to "Depression" to...)

I have been sleeping with my bed elevated for a week or so, plus my pillow is not too puffy or too flat so as not to cause neck discomfort (which in itself can cause a whole gammit of stuff). I may definitely have to try some natural stuff for the GERD as opposed to just TUMS (which only lasts for an hour or so until the acid returns). I read somewhere that milk-free acidophilus capsules and Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Chewable Tables (DGL) along with your pancreatic enzyme with Betaine HCL is a natural route to try. Aside from that, Pepcid AC may be a good choice. I'm certainly going to try it, because although my dizziness and ear fullness has gotten better, I still have a constant lump feeling in my throat which is most certainly caused by GERD.

Last night I saw on some website some actual photos from an autopsy showing how those muscles you mentioned on your other thread can push up into the eustation tubes and close them off. So interesting!

Alexi - nope, I have not had to take any meds yet (knock on wood)! I have been controlling things with diet and supplements, trying to get lots of sleep, staying out of the sun as much as possible, avoiding ultra-stressful situations, etc. The most obvious decrease in symptoms is my constant 24/7 off balance and ear popping. The ear popping is still there sometimes, but not nearly as often. It feels like the tube aren't being as squished. Last weekend I actually felt normal. It was so weird - but so so welcome. Yes, I have had this thing since March, on and off.

We'll see - it's about "that time" of the month and I am curious (and nervous) to see if the hormone fluctuations throw me off (please no, please no, please no).

I'm so sorry about you having to go to school with this junk! I know - it is complete misery working and taking care of my kids when I am at a really low point. Alexi - have you tried any diet modifications yet?

 
Old 08-31-2007, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

Quote:
Originally Posted by missy7777 View Post
Excellent info Lenny! It's so interesting how all of these things are tied together into a woven web of whackiness!! No wonder it is so difficult to figure out the root cause of dizziness/ear fullness - it can be so many different things, but at the same time, it can be little bits and pieces from each of those different things (i.e. just one example = "GERD" to "Bruxism" to "Eustation Tube Dysfunction" and/or "TMJ" to "Off Balance/Dizziness" to "Ear Fullness" to "Stress" to "Headaches" to "Anxiety" to "Depression" to...)

I have been sleeping with my bed elevated for a week or so, plus my pillow is not too puffy or too flat so as not to cause neck discomfort (which in itself can cause a whole gammit of stuff). I may definitely have to try some natural stuff for the GERD as opposed to just TUMS (which only lasts for an hour or so until the acid returns). I read somewhere that milk-free acidophilus capsules and Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Chewable Tables (DGL) along with your pancreatic enzyme with Betaine HCL is a natural route to try. Aside from that, Pepcid AC may be a good choice. I'm certainly going to try it, because although my dizziness and ear fullness has gotten better, I still have a constant lump feeling in my throat which is most certainly caused by GERD.

Last night I saw on some website some actual photos from an autopsy showing how those muscles you mentioned on your other thread can push up into the eustation tubes and close them off. So interesting!

Alexi - nope, I have not had to take any meds yet (knock on wood)! I have been controlling things with diet and supplements, trying to get lots of sleep, staying out of the sun as much as possible, avoiding ultra-stressful situations, etc. The most obvious decrease in symptoms is my constant 24/7 off balance and ear popping. The ear popping is still there sometimes, but not nearly as often. It feels like the tube aren't being as squished. Last weekend I actually felt normal. It was so weird - but so so welcome. Yes, I have had this thing since March, on and off.

We'll see - it's about "that time" of the month and I am curious (and nervous) to see if the hormone fluctuations throw me off (please no, please no, please no).

I'm so sorry about you having to go to school with this junk! I know - it is complete misery working and taking care of my kids when I am at a really low point. Alexi - have you tried any diet modifications yet?
Hey Missy, thanks for the reply! i am glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or at least feeling better! i haven't tried any diet modifications because i'm not so convinced that mine is caused by migraine. i've never had a history of migraine, i think i've had one my entire life. that's pretty much why i haven't done anything with my diet. another reason is that i'm trying to gain weight back still from when i lost some with that allergic reaction to antibiotics when all this was beginning. so i can't really afford to cut out the milk, cheeses, breads, etc at this point. my mom is actually going to give me some of her anti-viral med in a day or so and i'm gonna try them to see if it might help.....if this is labs like my ER doctor suspected...ughhh. this sucks, no answer means no relief i guess do you remember when you started to feel relief in your symptoms? has it just started for you with your diet mod? i feel like i've improved some from the start of this, but i can't really judge it since i was in such bad shape from the allergic reaction and losing about 10 pounds very quickly. anyway, i'm just hoping i will see a normal day soon too. i hope yours get to be every day

 
Old 08-31-2007, 01:53 PM   #7
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

It is interesting, Missy, and I think this stuff is tied together in ways nobody understands yet. I can say for sure that when I totally recovered for one wonderful month back in May I had NO GERD. I could eat or drink anything I wanted and it caused no heartburn. This was not lost on me, but I can't explain it right now. The GERD came back with the rest of the symptoms.

Unfortunately, we are on our own with some of this stuff. Fortunately, there are some things like this that we can try ourselves with no significant risk. You never know!!

 
Old 08-31-2007, 02:06 PM   #8
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

Another thought I've had: It would be great to start a database of info by collecting info on random (and seemingly unrelated) symptoms from as many people as possible. It seems to me that when you find groups of people like the you have here, you start to notice other ailments that people seem to have in common. Like people here might have a higher incidence of GERD and IBS, for example, than the rest of the population. Another interesting symptom is the vision irregularities. I mentioned to my dentist, for example, that I had vision irregularities and that I noticed that this was a symptom of TMJ. She said NO WAY. She said that has nothing to do with TMJ, which I know isn't true. I don't blame her, though. She's just sticking to what she was taught. But the sufferers out there aren't imagining these things.

There are lots of studies done on a lot of things but, to my knowledge no way to try to cross reference illnesses with other conditions and symptoms which might even seem totally unrelated.

I know that when my current "illness" started, it did not occur to me that some other things I've been dealing with for years, like allergies, GERD, anxiety and eye sensitivity to sunlight might somehow be related. Now I suspect they are all related (I know at least some of them are).

I'm babbling .

 
Old 08-31-2007, 02:20 PM   #9
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

I COMPLETELY agree Lenny. In fact, I bet that 90-95% of people who made it the inner ear board have similar overall health concerns such as allergies, TMJ/Bruxism, off balance, headaches, SINUS problems, anxiety - even personality quirks like OCD.

I remember when I went to see Baloh, he said (my words as I try to remember) that migraine sufferers are often people who are overly analytical, organized, etc. And I have also read similar things online - that "we types" have a certain way of thinking and certain personalities. You can kind of read it in the way people talk on this board. Very smart, intellegent, detail oriented, etc.

Anyway, all of this to say that I think alot of people, particularly on this board, share alot of the same symptoms and they are mostly centrally located in our noggins.


Alexi - you don't have to give up bread or milk, and you can even have American Cheese. It's not that restrictive. You might want to give it a try just for the heck of it.

In all honesty it is really hard for me to pinpoint when I started feeling better, but I do think it started a couple of weeks ago if I had to take a guess. I noticed that when I awoke, I wasn't so dizzy and foggy headed - I just felt more clear headed. I haven't had 24/7 dizziness for about a month. That is by far the best thing ever - to not have that lingering, daily, off balance.

 
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:46 PM   #10
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

It's smart to eliminate some of these things, even if it's painful. I gave up ALL dairy and wheat for 6 weeks earlier this year. You don't know how difficult that is until you try to do it!

It was painful, but at the end it made no difference and I could at least check that off the list.

And I lost 20 pounds, which wasn't bad . I promise you that this is a diet that will shed weight from your body . By the end, I was so skinny that people were ready to hold me down and force feed me!

Last edited by lefta; 08-31-2007 at 02:46 PM.

 
Old 08-31-2007, 03:18 PM   #11
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

Yep, it's amazing the changes that we can make when trying to feel better and improve our health! Things I have done since I got this freak illness in March:

Allergy shots (started in June - only 3 more years to go - ha ha)
Migraine Diet
Nettie Pot (daily sinus rinsing)
Bed elevation
New pillow
Allergy protectors over mattress and pillows
Washing all bedding in hot water weekly or bi-weekly
Air purifier in room
Dusting my room often and carefully while wearing mask
Allergy protector over vents
Change AC filters monthly
Spray carpet with dustmite killer
Got off Ambien
Added a gazillion supplements (garlic,C, B-2, Estroven, Cranberry, Garlic, Omega Fish Oil, E, Centrum multivitamin, Magnesium, D, Folic Acid, Coenzyme Q-10, Iron)
Air purifier in my office at work
Wearing large sunhats and sunglasses while outdoors

I'm sure there is more, but this is alot of changes in just a few months. The most drastic of course being the diet and the allergy shots. But every little bit helps I think.

 
Old 08-31-2007, 04:00 PM   #12
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

One thing I have is what I'd consider "untreatable" allergy symptoms. I had allergy shots for about 8 years and they did nothing. I tested positive for dust, dust mites, ragweed, cats and something else I can't recall. Supposedly, I had the strongest reaction to cats. My allergist always said that if I went away for a few weeks or if I got rid of my cat I'd notice a big difference. We'll the cat ran away and 2 years later I was still waiting for relief .

Seasons don't effect it and I tried every medication under the sun and nothing makes any difference. I think the allergist thought I wasn't really trying all of the medication he gave me but I was.

When I ran across TMJ disorder info, I was shocked at how the symptoms lined up to mine and I read that "untreatable allergies" was a symptom. There were case studies of people who had allergy symptoms that never responded to anything. These people had TJM problems, and often didn't know it. Once they treated the TMJ disorder, the allergy symptoms either disappeared completely or suddenly responded to treatment. I don't know how this fits in with me yet but I have to conclude that my "allergies" probably tie in with my bruxism.

Incidentally, I brought this up to my ENT the other day and he denied that untreatable allergies were a symptom on TMJ

 
Old 08-31-2007, 08:19 PM   #13
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Re: Another Theory...GERD

Wow - that IS strange! I've never heard of "untreatable allergies"! Especially caused by bruxism/tmjd. But obviously it exists if you trieds shots and all of the meds to no avail. Weird stuff!!

 
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