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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: What Are the Chances That I Have GERD?


 rhiannon213 - Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:54 pm

Hello :)

I have been researching the internet for a few days now, and it seems that what I have come across in regards to GERD (i.e, symptoms, causatative factors, etc) seem familiar to me and what I have been experiencing this past week or so.

I have noticed this past week a feeling of something being "stuck" in my throat. It doesn't have pain associated with it however. And today especially I seem to feel the need to often clear my throat (hoarseness that quickly disappears). I do smoke, drink a lot of coffee and unfortunately I have been warned about eating too much high-carb (fat) foods (I especially tend to eat a lot of pasta and potatotes). I have over many years now worn tight jeans as well. I have over the past few years, on the odd occasion, experienced sudden and sharp pain in my chest (on either side) - which usually disappears within 20 minutes or so. And as an added twist to things I have a problem passing excessive flatulence to the point where I cannot move from the horrible gas pains ... yet on the other hand I tend to burp for no real apparent reason. One end of me tends to over-work while the other end sometimes has problems LOL! And at times I do look/feel bloated. I have exercised-induced asthma and have noticed lately that in the mornings I have a bit of a hard time breathing (which initially I chalked up to having smoked too much the previous day). But in my research I learned that GERD can actually irritate the asthma condition more.

Over the past year I have experienced tremendous amounts of stress and anxiety over life changes/situations (recently separated from 16 yr marriage for starters); and this too I have learned seems to bring this condition on.

All these things seem to point me in the direction of having GERD. But the thing that is confusing me is that I don't experience heartburn. Is that possible? I have experienced it in the past - especially while pregnant (which is extremely common) - but not recently that I can recall.

I have been paranoid thinking that I could have throat cancer, but the more I read up on the two differing conditions the more I am leaning towards GERD.

So to clear my confusion, can you have GERD without experiencing excessive heartburn? If so, then GERD is more than likely what I have. And if that's the case, what sort of dietary changes should I make (other than stopping the coffee lol)? Is there an informational website that gives a dietary outline for people with GERD?

I apologize for the long post here. I am just trying to connect the dots so to speak.
 burpingguy - Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:19 pm

My doctor tells me that I have GERD and I did have heartburn/burping up acid after a LONG time of having some of the symptoms you quote. Mine started with a dry caugh that didn't go away for months and my chest became tighter and tighter. I am not a smoker and I eat relatively healthy. Apparently, in my case, the acid was mild enough to not be felt but the fumes or liquid was getting into my lungs and causing asthma, which I have never had before. I started out on asthma medication, which helped a bit, but the symptoms never really went away until after the acid showed up and I switched to Protonix, an acid pump inhibitor. However, my burps have never gone away and an endoscopy showed I have a loose Lower Esophogeal Sphincter, which lets gas come back up into my throat. Unfortunatley for me, this puts pressure on my heart and causes my blood pressure to rise, making me lightheaded and causing muscle cramps in my head and neck. All of these remaining symptoms get worse with stress (driving) and almost completely dissapear when I'm really relaxed (parties, vacation). I'm now trying anxiety mediation which seems to help some, except for the burping and head pressure. May need a higher dose.

Don't know if that helps but GERD definately seems to be present even without heartburn (at least for me for about a year) and stress and diet definately are factors or even causes, not sure which. Also, all of my symptoms started after getting laid off from my job and the stress of being unemployed for six months.

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