GERD, Silent reflux struggle, im 23 - nausea, headaches

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Hello everyone,

First of all I thank you for taking the time to read my post.

BACKGROUND: I'm a 23 y/old female, i weigh around 51 kgs and am 171 m tall, I am a student and I practice sports twice a week, with no history of gastric reflux before now. I did have anorexia when I was 16 to 18, but my gastric problems only showed up two months ago. It all started after a straining work/school rhythm that I had where I drank a lot of coffee, tea and soda due to the fact that I constantly needed caffeine to stay up.

It all started with a weird sinus headache and nausea that wouldnt go, about two months ago. After checking with the ENT and a GI specialist (through gastroscopy) it was concluded that I have gastritis-erymatheous and esophagitis grade A borderline B on LA scale. I did a 20 day round of omperazole before all of this with my family doctor which I believe made me sicker and with which I had really bad side effects.

Fast forward to today, I've been on Pantoprazole twice a day 40mg, Domperidone twice a day. I feel like everything has improved in a certain way. And that I am more capable of doing things, since my really aggressive stomach-headaches (located in forehead and temples) have disappeared. the only symptom i can't seem to get rid of is the fatigue, feeling of hunger and nausea.

I want to add that I did an MRI (all normal), a blood test (slightly high levels of cholesterol that runs in my family and slight, again genetic, anemia) that did not show any serious or alarming levels.

The reason why I am writing to you, is because I have a few questions which I'll list down below, so it's easier for you to answer:

1. Will I ever be able to consume alcohol, or smoke cigarettes, or even drink tea again? If i do it now, I usually feel horrible the day after.

2. Why does my nausea not stop? How can I make it stop and is this related to my reflux?

3. Why do I feel fatigued? are the ppis causing deficiencies I should be taking care of? And is there a diet that you could reccomend that would put me on the path of healing? lol

4. Is constant yawning related to GERD? especially after meals

5. I tend to feel better on my bed rather than sitting. When I sit on the chair in front of the dining table for instance I start getting dizzy and feeling nauseous. Is this normal?

6. Is anxiety and stress related to all of this? Does crying affect stomach acids? I am in the process of getting out of a very stressful period of my life (finals, master applications, relationship problems, other things) and I feel like this may have affected it.

7. Do you ever feel like your jaw is stiff and the taste in your mouth is sour? again, is this GERD related?

8. Will I ever be normal again? I just miss feeling normal and being able to eat meals without having the anxiety of feeling bad an hour later, i truly miss it.

thank you so much for the help, I am  grateful. And sorry for my strange English, it is in fact my mother tongue, but I have been living in a foreign country for about a decade now.

Sara

 

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    And last question: Did you also have nausea and forehead/temple/jaw headaches with GERD?
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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah, again I have to say,? So young! I'm 67! Mine started about 3 years ago, coughing, throat clearing, so put on PPI's!!!!!  Get off them now! One side effect is fatigue, secondary? They rob your body of everything, especially  magnesium ie fatigue, and in later life brittle bones,ie osteoporosis! I'm a massive anxiety and stress person for nearly 60 years now! And it can create any symptom in the book. Diet,find out what effects you? I love my beer, self medicate for stress. Bottom line is you can't have to much acid, it means the body is not disposing  of acid, unless you've a Hiatus Hernia? The acid will come back up the esophagus burning it ie taste in you're mouth being acidic. Let me know I you want to know more about low acid, tests etc. I also lived and worked around Europe, and live In the Welsh mountains, so language wise I'm also stuck for words.

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    • Posted

      thank you for the help and support Fredrick

      I will look into taking magnesium supplements when my flare up will go!

      And i also agree about ppis being addictive but at the moment my life seems horrible without..

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  • Posted

    Hi Sara,

    You will find my response different to most others so its up to you to filter the suggestions.

    Sorry for the length of this post.

    Consider doing this:

    1/ Elevate the head of your bed by 15cm

    2/ Stay on the PPI's at least until you are through this flareup.

    PPI's "protect" you from cancer of the esophagus.  It is insidious and erosion will happen below the pain threshold.  Long term PPI use may cause loss of bone density which is important especially as you as female.

    Bone density can be monitored so don't be too concerned about long term ppi use.

    3/ Alcohol during a flareup is a no no. You will never "heal up" if you consume alcohol.

    Once you are over this flareup you may find you can get away with small amounts early in the evening occasionally.  A heavy bout of alcohol consumption take 2 weeks to heal up. Tea should be fine.

    That was reflux101.

    Now your problem:

    You likely have Sleep Apnea. 

    You don't fit the typical demographics of being male, overweight and over 60.

    Sleep Apnea can also happen that a young girl who needs a decent feed as well.

    eg. My niece was 20 when she was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.

    Count off the ticks to your question list:

    What is Sleep Apnea . When you sleep the structures in the neck relax and close off the air path to your lungs. Eventually the body panics and wakens a part of the brain enough to restore breathing for a few seconds then the breathing stops again. In my case I stop breathing 30 times an hour with the longest span without air of 1 minute and 15 seconds. So this happens hundreds of times per night.  When the breathing restores it can be almost silent to an observer but the action pumps up reflux material if you have a reflux defect..

    I have never woken gasping for air, You cannot detect it yourself.

    Only a Sleep Study can determine for sure if you have Sleep Apnea.  You take home a small electronic device, stick on a couple of pads and return the device in the morning, all for a low cost.

    My theory: Everyone who has upper esophagus reflux while following the basic precautions (eg, bed tipped up etc.) has Sleep Apnea.

    The reflux material is being pumped up into your mouth assisted by Sleep Apnea. It then gets into your sinuses.  If you ate Salmon last night then rotten Salmon is what you breathe over everyone for the next couple of days it comes back out of your sinuses and deposits on the back of your tongue. Buy a tongue scraper and also use when teeth brushing.

    The acid in your mouth over a couple of years will strip the enamel off all of your teeth.

    You will have a blocked, stuffy ear depending on which side you sleep.

    Part of my sinuses has been eroded away by reflux to the point that xrays suggest I have had a sinus operation but I know I have not.

    It can even affect your eyes, perhaps difficulty undoing an eye for a few minutes after wakening.

    The effects of the ear contribute to vertigo and nausea.

    You will wake in the morning and still feel tired.  You feel tired all day especially if you take a rest. You will have a headache but may not notice it if you have had SA long term. You mouth does not taste great.  You have bad breathe+.  You feel lethargic and know there's something wrong but you continue on consuming larger and larger amount of coffee as its effect drops off.

    Longer term effects of Sleep Apnea:

    Typically the oxygen concentration in the blood is eg. 98%

    For someone experiencing SA it can get low eg. 40%

    Many vital organs are easily damaged by low oxygen levels.

    The kidney is one, when it suffers then you blood pressure rises leading to strokes.

    Heart disease, heart attacks, type 2 diabetes can all be triggered by SA

    Untreated SA can reduce you life expectancy by 10 years.

    80% of people with SA do not know they have it.

    It also causes mood swings, anxiety that leads to depression. 

    Recent UCLA studies show the mood swings/depression restores in 12 months.

    I met a guy the other day who is being treated for SA because of his depression.

    Now the big one:

    Doctors and Specialists for some reason seem to reject this approach.  Instead you are passed around and many expensive investigations (I am sure some are required) are performed over many years while you continue to suffer. Think of the driver, the doorman and the bellboy who all demand a tip each time you enter a hotel.

    You may see a doctor who rejects the SA notion and you will probably need to be assertive to get a referral for a sleep study.

    Best of luck - I hope it is as simple as Sleep Apnea - the sleep study is the key to this.. 

    .

     

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    • Posted

      I am super grateful for this post John!

      I will immediately start looking into sleep apnea, and if necessary do the tests for it, I agree about not fitting the demographics and it is positively shocking for me that this forum can be of such great help, whereas GI specialists send you away 5 minutes later filling you up with different kinds of meds.

      I shall keep you posted! 

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  • Posted

    I am 18 and experience a lot of the same things you are. I am pretty positive the excessive yawning is a reflux thing, I get that all the time and it drives me insane. Most likely the stressful time you are in is wreaking havoc on your body. stress effects us in ways we do not necessarily realize and it can wear you down over time. For the reflux/nausea/fatigue, I would go for a more wholistic approach including eliminating dairy, fast food and any other foods you suspect may trigger it. A mixture of baking soda and water is a simple but often extremely effective remedy for short term reflux help(I forget the excact amount because I usually just eyeball it, google it to be sure) Medication is a very temporary easy fix, any long term fix is going to be work unfortunately. Keeping you in my prayers
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    • Posted

      Thank you for your post Addie!

      I agree with you on the wholistic approach. However it is so difficult for me to stick to chicken and rice for the next two months especially since I am so active, between work and studies. Everything else basically makes me sick

      Are you experiencing nausea as well? I think thats the worst part, as it stops you from having a regular daily life routine

      Keeping you in my prayers as well!

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    • Posted

      Hi Addie, I know you are not seeking advice so apologies in advance, but is it possible that your yawning/fatigue is due to Sleep Apnea also?

      For me discovering I have Sleep Apnea and that it is linked to Reflux has been life changing.

      I have tried baking Soda and it working very well for a start.  After a few weeks I seemed to develop a sensitivity to it and it started contributing to the pain.  Had to stop taking it and go back to the PPI's.

      It's interesting you mention dairy, I have seen other people suggest the same.

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    • Posted

      I seem to be sensitive to diary as well, especially milk, yogurt and seasoned cheese. I get a really bad headache right after
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