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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Esophageal Spasms, Difficulty Breathing

 jlbault - Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:52 pm

Hello there

I was diagnosed with esophageal spasms about 4 or 5 months ago and was prescribed Nexium, had a big run around with my doctor and insurance the time the prescription was filled, it was gone, so I didn't bother getting the Nexium.

Here are my symptoms...

Sharp pain in chest from time to time...Feels like my heart is being squeezed, but when I feel my pulse in my wrist at the same time, I have a normal heart beat.

food doesn't always go straight down when I swallow. It gets stuck sometimes, and I have to wash it down with water. Almost like my throat gets clogged, but not the same as choking.

sometimes...first thing in the morning especially, I get a really bad stomach ache and feel very nautious. At the same time, there is a sizzling sound coming from my throat. Weird? Yea.

Here's the kicker... A few minutes after I drink fluids (any fluid) I have difficulty breathing for about an hour. I feel like I'm not getting enough oxygen, and even the deepest of breaths still makes me feel like I'm not breathing at all. However, if I try and keep myself from taking deep breaths while I'm feeling like this, I don't feel dizzy, or show other signs of not getting enough 02. I just get a frantic feeling. LIke when you swim really deep in water, and you don't know if you can make it to the surface in time for another breath. It's just scary.

I'm not stressed at all. I've had this going on since I was probably about 12 years old (I'm 23 now(and female)) off and on, at least once a year. It doesn't happen when I eat solid food. It's happened under lots of cercumstances...when I was in perfect shape, and now with a few extra pounds. All seasons, and when I've been sick (cold, flu...) and healthy.

Now this problem is back after being gone for 4 or 5 months. I've had chest xrays, showing nothing, and blood tests that showed up fine. My question is...

I've never heard or read (neither had my doctor) of this strange breathing thing happening along with the spasms. Does anyone out there know anything about this? ANY info would be great!!

Thanks so much!

 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:28 am

User avatar Dear jlbault,
In appropriate contraction of the throat or esophageal muscles (motility disorders) causes
- chest pain that can be severe and sometimes is felt as a lump or tightness in the chest with difficult swallowing and bad breathing.
- Dysphagia that is related to solid and fluid intake , is usually intermittent and not progressive.
-Acid reflux causes severe pain and discomfort in the chest especially in the morning and increase with certain types of food.
- Others may experience a feeling like the food stuck in their throat or tightness in the throat, dry cough and shortness of breath similar to asthma.

Stress and smoking can increase these symptoms. Certain foods as well are known to aggravate the condition, and you better avoid them. These include chocolate, beverages containing caffeine, fatty and fried foods, garlic and onions, spicy and tomato containing foods.
Psychological or emotional stress and anxiety, in these cases the diagnosis is made by exclusion of other causes.

Diagnosis is made by complete history taking, physical examination, investigations like Upper endoscopy, Manometric studies, and other lab tests that can be recommended by the doctor accordingly.
Certain foods are known to aggravate the condition, and you better avoid them. In addition smoking is one of he precipitating factors that should be avoided.

Keep on follow up with your doctor, update him with your symptoms, by complete history and physical examination, he can recommend the proper medical approach.

Best regards,

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