Worried About Symptoms: GERD?

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi everyone,

Let me start by saying I'm a 21 year old female, and I've never dealt with acid reflux or anything of that nature my entire life. For the last month or two, I had pain in my tonsils. They were bloody and had puss (perhaps from tonsil stones), but I had no strep throat although my doctor gave me an antibiotic anyways. Fast forward to last week, I still had pain in my tonsils, but I also developed a "lump in my throat" feeling. It gurgles when I drink or eat, I have a burning sensation in my stomach, I feel nauseated and lethargic most of the day. Sometimes it feels like I need to puke. I have been burping more frequent as well which is unusual for me. My ears also hurt and ache. It doesn't necessarily hurt to swallow although my mouth is incredibly dry and saliva seems to get stuck. I see an ENT on Tuesday. I'm very concerned and I wish I hadn't googled anything because now I'm worried I have esophageal cancer or something untreatable. I suppose what I need is a friendly reply or reassurance although I know an online forum can only do so much for me. The anxiety and worry that I have is making my life worse because I keep seeing rare and incurable cases. I'm afraid to eat or drink anything and I find it difficult to sleep with all of this going on while I'm burning in my lower abdominal region all night. I'm very scared, I guess. Is anyone else feeling like this?

0 likes, 23 replies

23 Replies

  • Posted

    I guess I should also mention I have some chest pain as well. And it's hard to exercise because it feels like all of the contents of my stomach will be upchucked if I bounce around or something. Sorry if I seem a little too upset about these symptoms, I'm just trying to find some relief to calm myself. Any responses would be appreciated, thanks.

    • Posted

      Chest pain is common with GERD; I have had that with acid reflux. Anxiety can also cause chest pain.

  • Posted

    Hi kylee77438

    A friend of mine had a similar thing and went to ENT and was told she had a condition called 'Silent Reflux'..they put a very thin wire with a camera on the end through her nose into her throat so as to see what was going on at the back of her throat and was told to take Gaviscon which she took for a while and is fine now. If they are not sure i expect you will have a CTScan of your throat. Try and not get anxious i'm sure it is something that is easily treatable...

  • Posted

    Hi kylee77438

    A friend had something similar thing with her throat and ENT doc said she had 'Silent Reflux' and was told to take Gavisgon which she took for a while and is fine now. Try not to stress you will be fine..

    • Posted

      Thank you for your kind words 😃. I appreciate it. I'll try hard not to stress over it all but it is truly difficult. But once again, thank you.

  • Posted

    Hey there Kylee 😃

    So let me start by saying that what you are experiencing in terms of anxiety is normal and understandable. To be suddenly bombarded by symptoms without explanation can be a troubling thing. But you have done the correct thing and put yourself in the capable hands of your doctor. Everything will be fine 😃

    Now with regards to your situation in particular, it sounds all to familiar to me. Like you, I never experienced anything like 'heartburn" or "reflux" for my entire life. Then within 1 week I began to experience a whole host of symptoms such as dull/aching chest pain, belching more than normal, ear pain, excess saliva that made me constantly swallow, throat clearing and coughing, gurgling sounds when drinking, worsening symptoms during workouts, and especially the "lump in the throat" sensation. Like you, I went to the doctor who saw mild throat irritation and I was placed on an antibiotic. Things did not improve so I went to an ENT and eventually a Gastorenterologist. Long story short, I was indeed having "reflux" due to a small hiatal hernia that was likely caused/worsened by weightlifting.

    For yourself, I must honestly say that most if not all of your symptoms are extremely likely to be reflux related or due to an H-pylori infection in your stomach. With regards to the reflux, you are probably thinking "how can I be refluxing without heartburn?" Well, not all reflux is acidic enough to actually "burn." But nonetheless, it can still irritate your esophagus enough to cause chest pain and back pain, as well as travel high enough to cause throat pain, and yes, even ear pain.

    With regards to the possible H-pylori infection, your symptoms are classic. H-pylori is a stomach infection that commonly presents as an ache or burning pain in your abdomen, abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite, frequent burping, and reflux. This reflux is due to either increased stomach secretions or inflammation near the top of the stomach/base of the esophagus that weakens or opens the lower esophageal sphincter, which when operating normally, closes off the stomach from the esophagus. Inflammation in this area can cause the LES to not close properly or operate properly thereby allowing reflux.

    My sense is that everything you have said points directly to an H-pylori infection or possibly reflux. Both are extremely treatable 😃

    Now with regards to your anxiety about something like esophageal cancer, let me comfort you by saying that literally NOTHING you have said points to that. Obviously, I am not God nor am I your doctor. But as someone who has researched and experienced much regarding reflux disease and hiatal hernias and esophageal disorders, I can assuredly tell you that none of your symptoms point to esophageal cancer. The VAST majority of people who have esophageal cancer have no symptoms whatsoever until the tumor in their esophagus begins to grow large enough to prevent food from being swallowed. Some of the other "red flag" warning signs are things like drastic weight loss, passing black stool due to the cancer bleeding into your digestive tract, trouble swallowing food, or growing lymph nodes in the collar bone region. When I met with my GI, who performed my endoscopy that led to my diagnosis of a hiatal hernia, he asked me if I had any of those 4 symptoms. Furthermore, he told me that the vast number of people who are diagnosed with esophageal cancer are older in age and that I, at 35, would be the youngest he had ever seen in his practice if, indeed, I had esophageal cancer. You are 21.

    Lastly, you are on the right path already. People who develop cancer of the esophagus due to reflux generally have heartburn for years upon years, without treatment or preventative lifestyle changes. That is not you. And you certainly have a good doctor. Sending you to an ENT is standard procedure in a case like this in order to gather more information and they have done that.

    Ultimately, nothing from your post worries me, Kylee. So relax, trust your doctors, trust God, and you will be just fine 😃)))))

    A quick question though, if you don't mind. When you say you have pain in your chest, where is that pain? Is it at the base of your sternum? Is it underneath or below your left ribs? And hey, keep us updated ok? And if there are any questions you have, ask away! 😃

    • NC
    • Posted

      Hi NC,

      I just want to start by saying your kind words almost put me to tears, you have no idea how much I appreciate the time you took out of your day to care. It means a lot to me as I've felt very isolated during this experience.

      I know my worries are definitely blown out of proportion, as I said, I wish I didn't Google anything because I happened to come across a young female who later passed from cancer and had symptoms like me, so that certainly didn't help!

      I find a lot of relief in your post and I'll read it whenever my anxiety sparks up badly again.

      As far as chest pain, it's a strange sensation. It is definitely not as strong as the other symptoms I'm experiencing. A sharp pain occasionally hits my collarbone region or center of my chest and then seemingly disappears. I also have a strange feeling when I inhale deeply; its that feeling as though you're about to get a bad cold a few days prior to it (i.e. very mild chest pain) Although I know it's not from a cold because I've had this feeling for weeks.

      Again, I am really appreciative of your time and I will be more than happy to update everyone because I know how scary this can be.

    • Posted

      Hey Kylee 😃

      I am very thankful that you were comforted by what I wrote. I do understand what you were and are feeling. And yes, using Dr. Google can be a bad idea in that you will always find worst case scenarios that are not at all representative of reality. You wont find posts or articles about the millions of other cases that were not life threatening lol. So it truly does skew one's perception towards the negative. Furthermore, Dr. Google will of course tell you that every pain or symptom you experience "could be cancer." This is because as humans, we can get cancer in practically every part of our bodies. Thus any symptom in any part of the body "could" be cancer be theory, though it rarely is. That is why if you look on WebMD, they will list cancer as a possible cause of every imaginable symptom from a headache to blowing your nose "too much." But telling someone that their cough "could be a cold or cancer" doesn't usually help much haha. That is why we have doctor's, thank heaven.

      With regards to your chest pain, it sounds very much like an irritated and inflamed esophagus. When an esophagus is irritated by reflux, it can transfer pain throughout the chest, back, neck, and shoulders. The vagus nerve, for example, is in close proximity to the esophagus. When I was symptomatic originally (and even still now on occasion) I would have shots of sharp pain seemingly scatter to various parts of my chest, collarbone, neck, back etc. And in general, there was a rawness and overall ache to their entire chest area that was pronounced when taking breaths. It was very much as you described it .... as if you are getting sick by breathing cold, raw air. I would tell my GI that every deep breath made me. feel as though my chest was brittle and broken. As my esophagus healed and was no longer inflamed, so also did such feelings go away.

      You are on the right path to figuring this all out, rest assured 😃

    • Posted

      Hello again 😃 thanks so much for comforting me during this time. I have a strange new symptom that happened today, I have a sore right armpit, and also pain on my right side of throat and into my collarbone, it's sharp and feels as though I pulled something but didn't. I'm wondering if you had anything like this, I'm worried maybe it's swollen lymph nodes or something.

    • Posted

      Hey 😃

      It is certainly true that many people, such as myself, will have symptoms from reflux that are atypical, meaning not common or normal. For those of us that don't have typical heartburn, it will present as pain in the throat, chest, neck, collarbone, back etc. So when you talk about one side of your throat hurting or throat tightness, it tells me that yes, there is possible inflammation in those areas which feels like a thickening or tightening. That "lump in your throat" feeling is not a lump, but rather inflammation. The mucosa reacts to damage and irritation by secreting more mucus than normal. This all leads to things feeling swollen, thick, tight, occasionally painful, but not outrightly and constantly painful like strep throat, for example.

      ---- When you said it feels like you have to work a little harder to swallow things down, that is not a tumor in your esophagus, but rather inflammation. When things are swollen or inflamed, they feel tighter and less fluid in motion.

      ---- With regards to the pain under your arm, yes there are lymph nodes there ans yes, swollen lymph nodes can cause pain. However, they often have to swell to quite a large size to be even felt, much less be the source of pain. Im guessing that you don't have a lump larger than a grape in your armpit 😃 And even if there was a swollen lymph node, all it would mean is that your body is fighting something. Swollen lymph nodes mean your body's defenses are working and catching issues. Also, axillary lymph nodes under your arm handle infections and issues from your arm and the breast region of the chest, basically speaking. It is highly likely that the pain under your arm is a transitory symptom of something completely unrelated and not serious.

      ---- We all have a tendency to associate every symptom we feel in our body with whatever issue is on our mind. Yes, the body is a connected system, but not every pain or oddity is necessarily connected to the same issue. And the vast majority of symptoms we experience day to day are transitory. If the pain under your arm persists or worsens, certainly mention it to the ENT. But beyond that, it is not notable or troubling 😃

    • Posted

      Hi NC,

      I just want to start by saying that you have no idea how much I've appreciated your words and the time you take out of your day to care, if I had the chance to buy you a coffee or lunch, believe me, I would! 😃 You are a saint haha. A lot of forums I've noticed don't have such warm and informative responses, so I definitely appreciate it.

      I guess I'm jumping the gun on a lot of symptoms. My chest is heavy and aches, I've got terrible back pain, sharp pain in collarbones and right side of throat, this armpit thing, etc. and in my mind I have no other way to explain it all so I think of worst case scenarios. Needless to say, I realize on the outside that I'm just very anxious, but on the inside I feel like curling up in a ball and crying 😂. Luckily, my gerd-like symptoms are not present yet tonight, which is a small relief. I will sort this thing out, especially with the friendly help you've given me. Thank you for putting my mind at ease, it makes a world of difference to me. I'll let you know how the ENT visit goes, and if I can do anything to help you in the future as a friend, I'll be more than happy to 😊.


    • Posted

      Thank you for your kind words and thoughts 😃 I appreciate that, to be sure. As I have said, I do understand what you are feeling. And so I know how it can help to have others support you and guide you in the right direction. Left to our own devices, quite often, we lose ourselves in worry.

      I assuredly fell into the same anxious thinking when this all started for me. I had never been seriously ill in my love, by God's blessing, was very fit and constantly exercising .... then suddenly a torrent of symptoms hit me like a wave. Exhaustion, coughing, throat clearing, chest pain, chest aching, back aching, neck pain, swallowing issues, food getting stuck and regurgitating .... and so on. I was CONVINCED I had cancer. I even told my GI this and he said everyone assumes the worst but it rarely ever is.

      The truth of the matter is that I was blessed to have that situation happen to me for many reasons. One of them was that I learned that I had a hiatal hernia that was causing reflux and therefore was able to take the necessary steps to be treated. You are doing the same thing and that is 100% positive. The true danger is for those individuals who go their whole lives undiagnosed and untreated and actually end up developing esophageal cancer due to untreated and prolonged (decades) Gerd. So believe it or not, what you are going through is a blessing because it will identify the problem and allow you to treat it instead of allowing it to fester for years without you being aware of it. Many positive things can come from painful, fearful times. Admittedly, it doesn't seem like that while you are experiencing it. But it is the truth 😃

      • NC
    • Posted

      Exactly, and maybe the worst part is not knowing what is normal. This morning for example, while I was eating cereal, a spoonful of it wouldn't go down unless I drank milk alongside it. I told myself that it was probably the mucus like you said, but it still is a crazy situation to deal with mentally. It's been a rough ride this past month or so, but I'm glad I can at least be open about my worries on this platform. I really appreciate it. I guess I also am hesitant of doctors, I find it hard to trust the medical field because of experiences in the past, I've seen family members mistreated and undiagnosed when in reality their problems could've been solved long ago. But I'll have faith and hope that this will all pass soon. Thank you once again for your kindness. I'll let you know how Tuesday goes for me. 😃

  • Posted

    Sounds like GERD/gastritis. Maybe the antibiotics upset your gut. It also sounds like you had tonsilitis. Try some antacids and milk and don't worry. Anxiety makes gut problems worse. Try yogurt to replace good gut bacteria lost after the antibiotics.

    • Posted

      Will do 😃. I've been eating a lot of yoghurt because I knew the antibiotics would definitely cause an imbalance, I guess maybe it's a possibility it could have affected me and caused reflux or something. I'll see about it this Tuesday ^^

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