Are these IBS symptoms?

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studog
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 1/29/2008 11:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi folks:
 I'm new to this board. Was previoiusly thought to have acid reflux with symptoms of lots of small burps all time (very unusual for me)a feeling of mucus in throat (especially after eating), constant throat clearing, shortness of breath and bit of chest discomfort, though not too much.
 Tried a regiment of Protonix, which didn't work. Had an endoscopy, which was perfectly normal. My GI doc now says it might be a form of irritable bowel, with my esophagus having spasms, for which he gave me meds.
 Do these symptoms sound like they could be irritable bowel? Shortness of breath? I just touched my throat (from the outside) and it's very tender.
 Thanks for any insight you can provide.
 
Best,
Stu

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 1/29/2008 12:02 PM (GMT -7)   
While some people with IBS also have stomach problems, I don't think I've ever heard of IBS being nothing BUT stomach problems. If you aren't also having bowel problems of some sort, then I think your doctor was getting too free and easy with the IBS label and you need a second opinion. In fact, I think the Rome Criteria used for diagnosing IBS says you have to have something wrong with your intestines/bowel movements.

Has anyone checked you for food allergies? Food allergies can cause the upper GI problems you describe, especially the excess mucus If you don't want to wait for a doctor, you can try and discover them on your own: eliminate for three weeks, each of the following (only eliminate one at a time):

Milk (this is especially suspect if you have any Asian or African ancestry, as they are the most intolerant to cow's milk)
Gluten (found in wheats, etc. grasses)
Seafood
Nuts
Sugar (artificial and real; limit fruits, no fruit juices)

If you notice an improvement in your health, then you might be allergic to that product. You may want to get tested to confirm, but some people are not clincially allergic to something, but have a severe intolerance for it anyways. That's why it can help to do an elimination diet as opposed to relying just on allergy tests, because the allergy tests themselves aren't always accurate (although you're more likely to get a false positive than a false negative), and they don't gauge a non-allergic intolerance to something. I'd probably not come up as allergic to sugar alcohol, but even the tiniest bit of it kills me. I tell people I'm allergic to it just to make sure it doesn't get put into any of my medicines because I'd be sick as a dog for days if I got into it.

And have you had your white count checked to make sure you don't have some sort of lingering cold/infection? That's another cause of mucus and the tightness in the chest. I once knew a guy (older guy) who went down at an airport with what everyone was sure was a heart attack (he was terribly obese). They cracked him open, sure he needed emergency bypass, and they found that his heart was fine but the lining around it was massively infected. I don't know if they ever found out why he had an infection around his heart, but infections can masquerade as other problems. A lady at work was just out with what seemed like gall bladder problems, but it was an infection in her pancreas instead.

studog
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 1/29/2008 12:45 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the great response.

My bowel movements have been a little irregular, but no diarrhea or constipation. I would say not too much out of the ordinary. Lots of burping, though, and probably more gas than usual. When I saw my GI doc, he pressed on my stomach and it was very tender but I don't have pain there. Only when he pushed it.

My wife mentioned the allergies too, but I've never been allergic to anything. I can't believe it would start all of a sudden like this... but maybe it's worth checking in to. An allergy can cause a shortness of breath or tightness in the chest?

Also, this all began after I had a cold in October. Had a bad cold for about a week and then it went away but I felt this small shortness of breath lingering. Went to my internest who gave me antibiotics, which didn't help. Ended up going to a pulmonologist, who gave me an inhaler and steroids. Neither worked. But I've always wondered if the cold had anything to do with this...

Thanks again. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Stu


kclay0840
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 1/30/2008 7:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Have you ever considered that it might be acid reflux?

studog
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 1/30/2008 9:30 AM (GMT -7)   

Yes, that was our first diagnosis, but I took a PPI med, Protonix, and it has not worked, so my GI doc says it might be esophageal spasms, and has put me on an anti-spasm med, to see if that helps.

I don't think it's IBS, in that I don't have irregular bowel movements. But I assume the doc is categorizing the esophageal spasms, if that's what it is, as a form of IBS.


Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 1/30/2008 9:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, allergies can seem to develop suddenly. Although you may have been growing increasingly intolerant of something for a while now and just haven't noticed the symtoms or chalked them up to something else.

I think a food allergy could cause tightness in the chest and shortness of breath because it can inflame the throat and esophagus, and either of those can cause the problems you are experiencing.

Also, try taking some probiotics. If you decide you can tolerate milk, you can eat a yogurt a day (we all here like Activia or Stoneyfield), or you can take a probiotic pill, like Digestive Advantage. You can find it in the bowel products section of any chain pharmacy. Your antibiotics may have killed off just enough of your stomach/intestinal bacteria that you are having some problems. Sometimes a bacteria imbalance can cause excess mucus production. Probiotics' only side effect is gas, and that usually dissipates after a week or two on them, so it never hurts to try them for 3-4 weeks and see if you get any better.

studog
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 1/30/2008 9:38 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the tip on probiotics. I'm very happy to try some non-prescription meds to get a handle on this. I've heard that my anti-spasm meds can have side effects... and I'm very sensitive to side effects. Even though it's a very low dose, I'm concerned about that.

Can these spasms, if that's what it is, cause burping? So weird... I get up in the morning and I have 2-3 little burps, and then everytime after I eat I burp some more. Very unlike me. What else could cause burping... besides trapped air, which is the usual reason?

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