feels like a furball in my throat!

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hi all, I have been struggling with what I've assumed is reflux since February.  I have had more traditional "heartburn" before where I feel burning in my chest.  This has all been in my neck and throat.  It started as a "lump in the throat" feeling and has progressed to feeling like there is a furball in there.  I also get soreness around collarbone/clavicles.  I have had ENT exam of throat, CT scan of neck, thyroid scan-- nothing.  What I haven't had is an endoscopy (of my esophagus) because I had one two years ago that was fine,  but I wasn't having these kinds of symptoms, or having them EVERY DAY then, just occasional heartburn.  I have been taking Prevacid 30 mg + Zantac at night (and recently tried adding in Gaviscon Advance at night also) since April and feel like they are doing nothing.  I have been off caffeine and alcohol except for very occasional white wine for ages (also off chocolate, citrus, and all the usual).  Garlic has become a real problem.  I love to cook and have been so depressed about this.  Oddly I rarely have stomach or intestinal pain or lower bowel problems.  But I do feel I get full easily and burp a lot.  I have been trying to eat much less and more slowly.  I can't drink much water with or after meals, and it has to be warm.  I just don't know what to do at this point.  I hate the PPIs (Prevacid) and want to get off them, but fear I may need to take MORE of them instead.  I think I would need an endoscopy again before the dr. would prescribe a higher dose, though.  I sometimes wonder if taking 15 mg in the AM and 15 mg at night would help.  I have also tried digestive enzymes without success.  Slippery elm can help a little bit.  Also I sleep on a wedge.  I am going nuts with this and would love to know if anyone has had any success dealing with similar issues! 

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  • Posted

    Hi Jen

    I have also been plagued with this feeling of a lump in my throat that, had tests and all fine .Never had reflux in my life till menapause. I find it gets worse in winter, will go away for months and then come back. I too have stopped coffee, sugar ect also anything with a tomatoe base. Stress can also make it worse so try not worry. Just one of the terrible symptoms we all have to go through, and hope you get relief soon .

    Regards pam

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  • Posted

    Hi Jen!  Oh yes.  I have GERD. It started with lack if appetite, feeling full.  Then, I was getting heart attack like symptoms.  Chest pain, palps, spiking pain, pressure, jaw, shoulder, neck pain.  Also get lots of sore throats!  Lost weight.  I had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, cardio, last year...all clear!   It really seems like you are vigilant about your diet...that is good!  I completely stop eating 3-4 hours before bed.  Sleep with my head elevated.  I tried PPIs...they gave me hellacious GI problems...so I cannot take.  Mine lasted about a year. I was on an anti depressant  for 3 months and didn’t have any acid issues... I am off it now.  I get mad hiccups, but other than that not bad.  Our bodies are going through so much with hormone shifts and it is very stressful.  You will cycle through different symptoms.  Keep track...is it worse near your cycle, after, etc.  Then you can see if it is hormone related. Are you on anything for hormones?  I would try to phase out all the the acid reflux meds... I almost think they cause more issues than they solve.  You could ask your dr about hiatus hernia, but I think you would have a lot of pain, pressure in your diaphragm area.  That’s what I thought I had...but mine was clear.  🤗

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    • Posted

      You think the antidepressant helped your reflux symptoms? I’ve been prescribed Lexapro for menopause related anxiety but haven’t started it yet. I have suffered with reflux for 3-4 years. I take protonix which doesn’t seem to help a great deal anymore. The best way to describe my symptoms is slow digestion. The reflux and chest pain drive me crazy though. I have had a complete cardiac physical and know these symptoms are digestive. If Lexapro has a chance of helping - and maybe getting me off the ppi - I’ll need to give it a try! 
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    • Posted

      Hi Teri, I was on Lexapro too.  I had never been on an AD before...The initial side effects for me were terrible nausea, appetite loss, sleepiness.  I was prescribed 10mg...but started at 5, 7.5, then 10 over the 3 months.  I stopped because I have terrible perimenopause/migraine related vertigo...and it made me feel too weird.  I am on amitripyline now to calm the migraines.  But, yes...if the hormone related anxiety is controlled...GERD issues calm down.  Just go low and slow😊

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  • Posted

    Thanks so much for these wonderful replies!  I am sure all this has a stress component, but I do not feel too plagued by anxiety and certainly not depression (though I have at other times).  I do find that as the day goes on, I really need some calm before going to sleep-- it is more about feeling easily overwhelmed (almost like a sensory barrage) than feeling anxious.  Cleaning things up/organizing is suddenly calming-- I think I finally understand my mother now, after all these years!

    Do any of you get a feeling of chest pressure when you wake up at night with a hot flash?  Deep breathing seems to help it.  But I also do worry sometimes that the acid is getting into my lungs.  If I scootch up higher on my wedge pillow it seems to go away.  The problem is that as I sleep, I keep slipping back down it.

    I just don't know whether to take the plunge and get the endoscopy etc. in case I really do need more serious reflux meds.  I know they are bad for you, but I also don't want to risk serious inflammation.  Do any of you have these symptoms literally all the time?  I didn't before, but I feel like now I do.  I have to say it was all better over the summer when life was more relaxed (I am a teacher).  My gastroenterologist already thinks I am a crazy hypochondriac.

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    • Posted

      Terrible chest pressure!  4 days in hospital last year under observation and testing. My dad died of heart attack at 42, so wanted to be sure .. I am 41.  Made the mistake once of eating spicy rice for supper...woke up with raging heart palps and a migraine.  You could just get the endoscopy just to check it off the list. Best to be your own advocate even if it comes off as hypochondria.  How many times have drs screwed up diagnosis or left stuff in people after surgeries!  My father complained of chest pains years ago, he was told it was muscular and to take muscle relaxers.  Poor thing died going into work...granted that was in 1976, but still!  The more I have had to deal with them, the less impressed I am.  Good luck!
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  • Posted

    Hi Jen,   So I too have had this symptom mainly last year, it started with chest pains that brought me to ER followed by lump feeling in the throat all this lasted on and off for close to a year.  I never had this ever in my life leading up to that.  The only time I had heart burn which was felt more in the lower esophagus was in my pregnancies over a decade ago in the last trimesters then vanished after babies were born. I still question if mine was caused by using a bio identical progesterone cream as that is when mine started a couple months into using that.   In the year of suffering I went for many many heart tests which came back normal, I had a barium swallow test which focused mainly on my throat and swallowing, I had a fecal test done and it showed normal, I had upper and lower abdominal and pelvic ultra sound, then chest and abdominal xray, we even did back xray to see if it was back related as I suffer from that as well.  I did not have the scope done as there wasn't a red flag with the other tests.  The doctors suggested that it was more than likely GERD and offered PPI which I declined, only because the over the counter stuff (zantac) put me back into an attack.    So I went outside the box and went to alternative therapies, and it was suggested that often times when we get to peri/menopause, our digestion slows down, our bile flow slows down, and even our stomach acid decreases, this causes the lower and upper esophageal valve to weaken, and often stay open.....giving us this lump in the throat feeling.  It was recommended to me, to add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water and drink that with a meal, or even use bitters which you can buy at a health food store.  Digestive enzymes and probiotics can be beneficial too, the burping and flatulence is from food not breaking down properly.  The fact that you are taking PPI's tells me that your stomach acid is being suppressed already, and then with your body not producing any of your own, you have nothing breaking down the food and nutrient in your body.  I am an alternative practitioner, and from studying anatomy this is the time of our lives that our bodies are changing, we are not storing vitamins like we did, we are becoming deficient of hormones and nutrients, so we need to assist our bodies in giving it what it needs to function properly.    

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    • Posted

      Takingtime, I really appreciate you-- taking the time! to write this long and detailed response.  You know, the whole low stomach acid/digestive enzyme thing makes so much intuitive sense to me (and I HATE PPIs) that I really wish it worked for me.  But so far I have tried three different brands of highly touted/rated enzyme complexes and had no relief.  I admit I have been scared to try the kind with Betaine HCL, because for this particular wave of reflux, acids of any kind, very much including apple cider vinegar, have been terrible for me.  Even like 1/4 teaspoon of ACV in a big glass of water immediately causes terrible burning.  In the past it hasn't worked badly.  I think this is more like a sort of LPR (throat reflux) and so acids are not good for it.  Do you have any further thoughts?  The only thing that has been working a bit the past few days has been a higher dose of slippery elm (4 capsules instead of 2 which I had tried before) before meals.  I want to try it at nighttime.  Unfortunately it may be causing some lower GI issues, which always worries me because I have ulcerative colitis.  I assume it is a high fiber product sort of like psyllium husk.  I know many people use slippery elm or psyllium to HELP colitis but I have not had a good experience with psyllium.  The other thing I am curious about is ginger capsules, though I've so far been too scared to try those too because many people GET heartburn from them.  My dr. has now called in a stronger PPI (Dexilant) but I haven't taken it yet.  I do wonder if I may need to take it for awhile just to get things under control before going a more natural route.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jen,   Ginger is good for some, especially when dealing with nausea and indigestion, it is hot so for some it can be aggravating.  Slippery Elm is a good one, it acts as a coating and helps decrease inflammation.....another great one is dgl tablets, I used to get the chewables, they taste like a licorice, it too very soothing.   The part that might be tricky is with the ppi....I am not sure how all the natural stuff works with the ppi......in truth, ppis truly are not meant for long term....they help with symptoms, but damage still can be happening.....my husband was on them for 17 years and battled horribly with heart burn, he depended on those ppis.....when he finally gave in and got a scope done, they found scarring in his esophagus.....so clearly they were masking not helping.    Since he has been off them and doing more healthy eating, and taking proper supplements, like digestive enzymes etc...he has been awesome.  He too could not tolerate acv when on the ppi but now he can take it in water.   I truly feel ppi and alternative therapy work against each other if trying to work them both together in this case.  All I can offer is do your research and listen to your body, if it is not working, then move to the next thing.  Like I said it was a year of testing and trialing and money spent u too I found what worked.  Best of luck to you.
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    • Posted

      I should also mention, if you decide to go off he ppis you need to wean off them, not stop cold turkey.  You still even then may get what is called a rebound effect, where it will feel worse before it gets better, that's when you need to have all your supplements ready.

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much again!  I tried DGL and got bad palpitations (different from ones you sometimes get in perimeno), so given the issue with licorice and blood pressure I decided it was better to stay away from that.  I actually tried the ACV before I went on the PPI, and the acid caused terrible burning.  My sense is some people really do have high stomach acid, and others have low... as you yourself suggest, the problem is more the one size fits all approach, which doctors but also some naturally minded types often seem to have.  All I mean is that while PPIs have demonstrated risks, other non-"natural" remedies like Gaviscon Advance or just plain old Gas-X don't, yet I think these are important parts of a healthy regimen.  I am also curious whether Beano (or Lactaid) might work better than many of the digestive enzymes I have tried.  Will report back if it does!

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