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Hey there all
So I have some questions I would like to ask in order to better understand my situation. Thank you all in advance for your patience in reading this
So I am a 35 year-old male who is very fit (weightlifter/basketball player for years) and active who has never drank alcohol or smoked. In all my life, I cannot remember even once having "heartburn," in the typical sense. Neither can I remember ever having any cases of chest heaviness or reflux. That being said ....
In January I became very ill. I was placed on Doxycycline for 10 days which only seemed to worsen these symptoms:
- Chest heaviness, chest pain, hoarse voice, coughing, throat clearing, neck pain, ear pain, throat pain, shoulder pain, back pain (right in line with the esophagus), trouble swallowing, excess mucus, and post nasal drip.
After a month+ of no improvement along with treatments of Doxy, Ibprofin, Azithromycin, Flonaze, and nasal rinses, my doctor referred me to an ENT who did a nasal endoscopy and a neck CT scan. Both tests were unremarkable. The ENT then referred me to a GI for a full endoscopy.
The results of the endoscopy were as follows
- Ringed appearance mucosa in the esophagus. Biopsied.
- Z-line variable, 38 cm. from incisors. Biopsied.
- Erythematous mucosa in the gastric body and antrum. Biopsied.
- 2cm. hiatal hernia.
- Normal examined duodenum.
All the biopsies came back negative and the GI doctor said my case was not bad at all and had me on Omeprazole 40mg for 3 months. I also stopped eating right before bed, raised the head of my bed by 8 inches, lowered considerably my intake of caffiene/carbonated beverages (though I still have them a bit ), and stopped doing situps, dead-lifts, crunches, and flat bench chest presses because of the hiatal hernia. He said I would improve over time and indeed it did.
So now it is August and I had my follow-up visit with my GI. Since my symptoms were 90% gone, he took me off the PPI and I can honesty say that I am feeling pretty good. Indeed, almost back to normal .... which is what confuses and worries me.
When I talked to my GI recently, he said my z-line was wavy, which was evidence of reflux. He said "don't worry, we all reflux." I asked him how it was possible that I had an irregular, wavy z-line which is evidence of reflux damage, but never had felt heartburn? He said simply that "some people just don't." He said that due to my 2cm hiatal hernia, I was more at risk that other people to reflux. But he did not say I had full-blown GERD and certainly not anything like Barretts.
So prior to my getting sick this year and having these symptoms, I never had heartburn or reflux in my life. Nonetheless, the evidence suggests that I was indeed refluxing and creating an irregular z-line. Now that I am feeling so much better, how do I know I will not continue to reflux without feeling it thereby causing further damage and setting myself up for some serious health issues? Moving foward, if I have no symptoms, how do I know if I get Barretts? Why would my GI doctor look down my throat again if I am not feeling bad?
I understand this all may seem unfounded and anxiety-driven, but how do I move forward wisely with this? I will continue to adjust my life in ways that are more reflux-friendly, of course. But even my GI doctor was very casual about it. He even said I could keep drinking caffienated/carbonated energy drinks in moderation (1 per day, 2 occasionally). Buttttt .... if I have no symptoms, how do I know I am not making my z-line more ... wavy lol.
Thank you all so much for your time and advice. Cheers!
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