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Acid Reflux?
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lindsayelizabeth posted:
Hi there everyone,

For the past few months (Since about February of this year), I've been experiencing some health issues that I've never had before. I'm a twenty-four-year-old mother of one, in relatively good health. When I was a teenager, my OB-GYN discovered a few nodules in my thyroid that were watched for a year, and found harmless, though she said I do have mild hypothyroidism. My mother also has this.

Around January, I came down with bronchitis. Several weeks after that, upon returning to my doctor, I was told then that I had a few spots of pneumonia on one lung. I was treated for the pneumonia, though I never physically felt too much better, and (again returning to the doctor) was told the pneumonia had cleared up.

Several weeks after this, I woke up in the middle of the night, around 3 am. I felt like someone had just been sitting on my chest - it was tight, uncomfortable, and I felt very conscious of my breathing. I also felt very dizzy. My husband took me to the ER that night, where I was told that it seemed I was having some kind of acid reflux from eating too late in the day. I was given over-the-counter heartburn pills, and sent home. My breathing seemed to ease up over the next few days, though I felt no symptoms of heartburn. Once or twice each day, though, I felt like I would have "attacks" - my chest would suddenly feel very tight, and I would feel short of breath. After experiencing this for several weeks, I went back to the ER. I was told then that they thought I may have pleurisy, an aftereffect of my pneumonia. I was given muscle relaxers and antibiotics. Those did nothing for my discomfort.

It's been months since then - and I have been in the ER several times, at least once per month. The feeling of tightness in my chest has worsened to the point where, from about the center of my breastbone up to the top of my throat, I feel like someone is choking me. I have an excess amount of saliva - I'm always swallowing or spitting - and it's extremely difficult for me to swallow the saliva. My throat is always a little sore, and I feel like there is a lump in my throat around where an Adam's apple would be.

To this date, I've had five EKGs, a 2D echo ultrasound of my heart, complete lung function tests, several bloodwork analyses done, and a CAT scan of my heart and lungs. Nothing has appeared to be wrong at all with my heart or lungs. Just recently, my doctor finally told me she thought she could feel some nodules in my thyroid gland. My blood was tested for thyroid issues, and it was found that my thryoid levels were "at the lower end of the normal range." My doctor put me on levothyroxin pills once per day for hypothyroidism. I also have just had thyroid ultrasounds done to locate the nodules, and have an endoscopy coming up to attempt to find why I have trouble swallowing. However, an ER doctor that I saw recently told me my thyroid levels were normal, that he couldn't feel any nodules, and that my lymph nodes seemed fine.

At this point, I am quite frankly terrified. My doctor is extremely abrupt, and gave me very little information on what the problem could possibly be. She first told me she thought it was "all in my head" and offered to give me depression medication, and then mentioned that it could be something as serious as cancer, but "who knows?" I'm terrified about thyroid cancer/esophagus cancer, or another type of very serious problem. I've been sick, experiencing the shortness of breath, chest/throat tightness, and difficulty swallowing, for months. I'm fed up, scared, and frustrated. I also am a stay-at-home mom to a beautiful four-year-old daughter, so I've scared myself silly that something could happen to me. I'm tired, in pain, and have a hard time eating, because the lump in my throat and chest tightness feels worse after eating, or when I try to sleep. I'm having problems taking care of my daughter, and just not sure if anyone else has ever experienced anything similar. I'd love some input!
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calgal37 responded:
Many of the symptoms you're relating could be related to acid reflux. The shortness of breath and chest tightness is experienced by many people with 'high' reflux. The throat 'lump' is also experienced by those with GERD and is called globus. Excess saliva can be found in those with GERD and is typically termed water brash.

No one can diagnose but your doc, however those symptoms do kind of suggest a problem with acid reflux. Many, many people head for the ER with symptoms that resemble heart attacks etc., only to find out they've got GERD. Not minimizing the problem because GERD can be difficult to handle.
 
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lindsayelizabeth replied to calgal37's response:
Thank you for the response! I feel a little bit reassured.

I've been very curious about acid reflux, and completed a two-week course of Prevacid-24 Hour. It didn't seem to make too much of a difference, and I haven't gotten the okay to start another course of something different, so I currently have not.

My thyroid ultrasounds did just recently come back fairly normal; I was told the nodules that were found seemed noncancerous, and would just be checked back upon in six months. I was also told it seemed like the entire gland was enlarged, and that a mild goiter was present.

This week I'm headed in for an endoscopy, as well as a larygnoscopy. My doctor told me that if those came back normal, I may have to speak with a surgeon in regard to the enlarged thyroid. However, the thyroid isn't really enlarged enough to be causing my shortness of breath/swallowing issues, I was told.

Hopefully it does turn out to be acid reflux; I've had trouble swallowing solids for the past few weeks, and still feel like I have a tight iron band around my upper chest. With most of my tests coming back all clear, this is incredibly frustrating. I haven't "felt" like I was having heartburn - there's been no burning sensation, or sour stomach issues. Just the shortness of breath, and feeling like my throat is incredibly swollen inside. Still a little worried, but will post an update after my endoscopy is done this week. If anyone has any further input at all I would definitely appreciate it!
 
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An_198123 replied to lindsayelizabeth's response:
I have several similar symptoms. My MD has diagnosed acid reflux and gastritis. I had a stress test to rule out heart problems. Max dose of Prilosec is not helping much, and avoiding the foods known to be problematic with acid reflux has not helped as much as I would like. My next step is to systematically eat just a few foods, to try to identify those that cause the most problems. Also, elevating the head of the bed (foam wedge available at Amazon.com), and not eating anything at all within 3 hours of bed help reduce symptoms.
 
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lindsayelizabeth replied to An_198123's response:
Update -

My endoscopy came back initially fine and clear, though my doctor took several biopsies to ensure there wasn't any infection (H. Pylori, etc) going on in there. I haven't gotten those results back yet, but should within the week.

Two nights ago, I spent until 4 am in the local emergencey room, because two nights after my endoscopy, I came down with a blinding headache. It's lasted until today (about five days or so), and seems to feel as if there's an iron band around my temples. Tons of pressure along my temples, top of head, jaw, and eye sockets. I was terrified (Brain tumor? MS symptoms? I was thinking...) but had a normal CT scan done at the ER, which came back clear. My endoscopy also showed no initial reflux signs, unless my doctor didn't let me know he saw any.

My next steps are a thyroid uptake scan, to further check my thyroid nodules for cancer. Also, a sinus x-rays, to rule out a major sinusitis-type infection. I'm still feeling the intense pressure around my upper chest - like an iron band squeezing, or someone sitting on my chest - and not one of my doctors has been able to even give me a rough guess to as what may be the cause. My PCP wants me to look into getting a complete thyroidectomy (in case my enlarged thyroid is causing the pressure), but my ENT told me that the thyroid did not seem enlarged enough to be causing breathing problems.

At this point, after going about six months with constant chest pressure and difficulty breathing, three different doctors, dozens of trips to the ER, and countless calls to my physicians - I do not know what to do, or where to turn. I'm extremely frustrated, and worried that perhaps what I have going on is something more serious and neurological. However, my doctors are extremely reluctant to refer me anywhere else to look into these worries. I'm stressed and scared the majority of my days, and spend most of my time reclining in bed and trying to find a position where the air doesn't feel like it's being sucked out of me. I have an active four-year-old daughter, and have been miserable because I feel like I am missing out on so much. If anyone has any suggestions, or similar experiences, I would be more than happy to hear them. =(
 
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pamperkins60 replied to lindsayelizabeth's response:
lindsayelizabeth did you ever get to the bottom of the cause for yyour symptoms and discomfort? I have very similar symptoms.
 
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princesschewie replied to pamperkins60's response:
I was wondering the same thing!
 
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McClan5 replied to lindsayelizabeth's response:
I was wondering if you ever found out what it was. I have similar symptoms plus weakness in my arms and I've been told acid reflux. Medicine doesn't work so I am looking into natural ways to relieve the symptoms.
 
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Weezie44 replied to lindsayelizabeth's response:
My daughter had the same symptom and was sent to a throat specialist. She has had hypo thyroid for a long time, they found with eras where she swilled a marshmallow while doing X-rays that she had internal goiters. A few weeks ago she had half of her thyroid gland removed and the goiters. She is now doing much better and is able to eat and swallow without pain...hope this helps
 
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buelr0627 replied to lindsayelizabeth's response:
I have had similar symptoms. I also have the nodules in my thyroid which they checked every year for 5 years. They said I have goiter disease. They check my thyroid levels all the time and say they come back fine. I have trouble losing weight, I have acid reflux symptoms, my hair falls out like crazy, I am always tired, Exercising is a chore because I get so out of breath. I get pains in my temples and my eyes are sensitive to light sometimes. Once in a while I feel like I'm sort of dizzy and I'm going to black out. I have numbness in both arms at night when I sleep The doctors have done every test they can think of from urine to saliva. I've seen a neurologist. they ruled out MS. they ruled out lymes disease. They said all my blood tests are normal. They said I have carpel tunnel in both hands. My one doctor tried to link my problems to my merena IUD, but my OBGYN said the levels are so low that they wouldn't cause my symptoms. My doctor said my head issues may be type A migraines. I am very frustrated just like you. I have a 7 year old and a 4 year old and I feel like I'm about 80. nothing helps. However I just watched an online video from a holistic medicine doctor about thyroid diseases and I thinking of checking one out. He said that people have symptoms of thyroid disease all the time and the doctors do blood tests to check the T3 and T4 hormones and most of the time it comes back normal. He said sometimes the issue is the hormones going from the thyroid to the actual cells in the body. The tests could come back normal but if the hormones don't get to the cells like they should you will have all the symptoms and thyroid disease. This makes sense and also can explain why the blood work comes back normal. I am going to try and look up some more info an this and maybe contact a doctor. Anything is worth a try at this point.
 
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nikkiphoto13 replied to buelr0627's response:
Hi buelr0627,


I am new to GERD (4 months), but a long time Thyroid sufferer (10 years). Yours and lindsayelizabeth's situation seem just like mine. Even though your thyroid levels come back "normal," are they really normal or just close enough to be normal and so the Dr proceeds with no medicine? Mine are that way, so my Dr keeps me on the smallest dose of levothyroxin which is half a tablet once daily. I really don't need it, but it helps regulate my borderline hypothyroidism.

As for my GERD I am finally sorted out taking Nexium, Sucralfate (temporarily for possible ulcer) and Gaviscon (temporarily to push the acid out). Not sure if it will all work in combination with my levothyroxin, but I can let you know and if it works, maybe you can suggest this combo to your Dr?
I was constantly complaining about loss of hair too, but my Dr said that stress aggrivates it too and it could not be related to the thyroid being out of balance, but the stress. I also recently read stress has negative effects on GERD and acid re-flux. How is your stress level?

To reduce acid re-flux symptoms have you tried keeping a food diary to see what your trigger foods are? That helped me to identify what was causing the mucus and saliva the most as well as the burning throat like something was constantly choking me. Along with my list the Dr gave me a list of foods to avoid as a GERD suffer. You can do a Google search and find a great amount of info on what foods to avoid, maybe this will help you? Also, doing as much exercise as possible would help because if you have any excess tummy weight it could be negatively affecting the GERD, and also could help you overall to feel better, especially if there is stress in your life. My health always feels better when I am actively exercising regularly, even if I have leg or arm numbness or difficulty breathing or heavy saliva when walking...

I hope this is helpful, and if not feel free to disregard it. It's been a long time since I've been active on these boards, so not sure of etiquette anymore!
 
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buelr0627 replied to nikkiphoto13's response:
Thanks for the info! I do have a lot of stress. My husband works weird hours, but mostly nights, and When I get home from work he is leaving. I have 2 kids to tend to at that point, making supper, homework, baths. sometimes I feel like I'll never get caught up. THe kids and I do go for walks every night for exercise, and I'm very active. I'm not overweight by a lot, but I'd like to lose about 15 lbs to get back to where I was before kids. I just have a very hard time getting weight off. I get heartburn a lot, but mostly at night when I lay down. I have my pillow elevated but it doesn't help. It does help if I lay on my side though. I do know raw onions trigger the heartburn so I do try to avoid them. I haven't really been able to pinpoint anything else. I usually get it several hours after I eat and usually at bedtime. They checked me several years ago for acid reflux but it was negative. I get tired of going to the doctor when then can't ever find anything wrong. They do blood work and say I'm fine. As far as my thyroid, they never tell me my exact thyroid levels, just that they are normal.


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