Allergies or Acid Reflux?

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Silas1066
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 2/16/2012 10:25 AM (GMT -6)   
I have a history of bad sinus problems (had surgery in 2004 and many sinus infections). I also have horrible allergies to dust mites and mold. When I get an allergy shot for the dust mites, my arm swells up from the shot.

For months now, following a bad bout of bronchitis, I have been having mil throat irritation, a cracked voice (off and on), a super dry throat and mouth, and the feeling of something caught in my throat (off and on). I also have traditional allergy symptoms: itchy red eyes, nasal congestion off and on.

I went to the ENT, and he put a scope through my nose and into my throat to see what was going on. He found virtually NO irritation or problems with the throat, voice box, etc. He suspected that maybe acid reflux was to blame and put me on 40mg of Prilosec a day, and gave me a nasal steroid spray.

I quit drinking alcohol and caffeine, limited spicy foods, and even started using a wedge pillow. But even with the medication, I have seen NO improvement. I don't typically get heartburn, or any kind of burning sensation, so I am really confused about what is going on.

I have been on the Prilosec for 16 days, and made dietary modifications over a month ago.

Does anyone else here get symptoms like this from allergy or sinus problems? I am starting to suspect that my problem may not be acid reflux. My symptoms got worse with the harsh winter weather, and my nose dries out so bad it bleeds in the morning.

Before running back off to the doctor, I wanted to see what other people are experiencing.

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3541
   Posted 2/16/2012 1:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Silas, welcome to the forum.

You should not be getting swelling from the allergy shot. Do you get redness, hard lump or pain? Have you discussed this with your allergist? When I first started on allergy shots I had to get a lower concentration of serum because of reaction, and then I had to build up to just under the highest level I tolerated. I get my shots weekly. Are you getting shots at least once every 2 weeks? Was your surgery to open up the sinuses so they drain more easily?

You could still have an allergy problem, and reflux doesn't always cause symptoms that you notice. Reflux isn't always caused by spicy foods or caffeine. Mine is triggered by specific food intolerances. Food intolerances often don't show up on allergy screening either!

I was getting reflux triggered by preservatives and some natural things in foods (sulfites). On an acid preventing medicine I still had reflux, but it was non-acid. It felt more like a burp. Reflux doesn't often cause dry mouth, but medicines do.

Is there a possibility you have a sinus infection? I get headaches and "crusties" in my nose on dry days wnen I am getting another sinus infection. I had sinus surgery which so far has only made my sinus infections worse. My nose was broken in an accident and the septum is still deviated, which I think may be blocking at least one sinus. I have constant dripping since the surgery - which I haven't had since starting on allergy shots.

On advice from my allergist, I have been keeping a food diary, also what I drink and the meds I take, which has helped find my specific food triggers. I also write down my reactions, if any, within a couple of hours.

Silas1066
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 2/16/2012 2:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie:

I get a red, itchy bump from the dust mite shot. I get the shot every week. Bump is usually the size of a dime.

I had a CT scan of my sinuses done in late 2010 after a miserable summer of swelling, headaches, etc. It showed mucosal thickening in the maxillary sinuses and some obstruction of the airways, although the ENT didn't think it was enough to warrant immediate surgery. He said if it gets worse, I might have to go back under the knife.

I have had throat problems in the past, and have always attributed it to allergies and sinuses. Eventually, the symptoms go away, but this time, it has been going ever since I got bad bronchitis last year.

I might have food intolerances, but it would be hard to know which foods are giving me a problem. The PPI medication (Prilosec) doesn't seem to be doing a thing.

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3541
   Posted 2/16/2012 3:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Silas -

Red, itchy bump sounds like the reaction I had a few times to too strong a dose in the shot. Is the doctor an allergist? Some GPs think they know about allergies too.

My CT showing thickening in sinuses was called an infection by my ENT. I have been on 21 days of antibiotic more than once, which gets rid of symptoms - for a while. I may need a revision or something too. My infections have been coming back for over 2 years. Sometimes I feel like I have bronchitis when the sinus infection goes on for a few weeks. That goes away too, with antibiotic. A couple of times my doc has had the gunk in sinus cultured to find what would kill it. It still comes back. Isn't sinus surgery just so much fun - NOT!

Food intolerances take several months to figure out. The only way I know of is to start writing everything down on a calendar or notebook. After 6 years, I'm still finding new foods to avoid - mainly anything processed at all. If I cook for myself, don't even eat processed breakfast cereal (not counting oatmeal or plain rice cereal with no additives), I am fine. My GI doc had no idea. This all came from my allergist. The only thing my Nexium did was to make the refluxate non-acid. The trigger for the stomach to heave it up is nearly all food or irritating things going on in my esophagus, stomach or gut.

My ENT gave me some antihistamine nasal spray. It doesn't do anything except taste awful. My allergy shots have my allergies under control. He'll probably have me on steroid next visit. I don't want to take that long-term. Those things have preservatives that cause trouble.

It's Genetic
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1540
   Posted 2/16/2012 4:07 PM (GMT -6)   
This may be completely irrelevant, but I read recently an article by a gastroenterologist whose patient complained of acid reflux. The doctor asked her several questions, among them, "do you use peppermint, by any chance, to relieve the symptoms?" She was astounded and said, "yes, frequently."

She was advised to stop them because they cause more trouble than they do to provide help. The physician said that peppermint causes the muscles to relax somewhat making acid reflux more likely to occur. Without using them, the lady improved remarkably within a very short time.

As I indicated, this may be completely irrelevant to your problem, but worth mentioning just in case you try to self-medicate.
 
Another route to follow might be that of having an allergist check for mold allergies (since it's worse in winter) or allergens in the home such as minute dust particles or dust mites (which all homes have, no matter how clean).

Good wishes on finding the problem.

It's Genetic

Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 2/16/2012 2:10:37 PM (GMT-7)


Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3541
   Posted 2/16/2012 7:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi It's Genetic -

Yes, some people do have a problem with peppermint. Some swear by it though, like my grandmother. I guess it depends on what's causing your reflux in the first place. I have no opinion either way.

I agree with seeing an allergist!

It's Genetic
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1540
   Posted 2/18/2012 11:06 AM (GMT -6)   
A food diary is an excellent recommendation, in my view. Some
common triggers may include:

Chocolate, wheat, milk products (notorious for causing mucous for some), sugar. I once had an ENT doctor tell me that the use of chocolate was like adding gasoline to a fire when a sinus infection was present.

The food diary is so helpful and makes it so much easier and quicker to identify food intolerances for some.

The mold thing should be followed up, I think. It's ubiquitous in the atmosphere, and if one is sensitive to it, shots do alleviate symptoms.

It's Genetic

Razzle
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4130
   Posted 2/19/2012 10:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Fungal sinus infections can cause prolonged sinus infection symptoms but do not clear up with antibiotics...need antifungal medication or herbs instead.

My own persistant sinus issues are at least partly due to severe allergies to many, many things (weeds, grass, trees, dust, animals, foods), and I find the best help from an herbal combination of Fenugreek & Thyme (product I use is called FenuThyme; I have no financial connections with this product/company).

I find if I take 2 capsules in the evening, my nose won't clog up nearly as badly at night, and 2 capsules in the morning help make it easier to breathe all day.

I should note that I'm also taking lots of antihistamines and Singulair (for Asthma & allergies), but even with all the meds, my nose still can't seem to stop running/being stuffed up (swollen). The FenuThyme is the only thing that helps with the swollen nose...I've tried antihistamine nose sprays, steroid nose sprays, neti pot, etc. and nothing helped except the FenuThyme. YMMV.
-Razzle

Chronic Lyme, Bart., Gluten & Sulfite Sensitivity, Many Food/Inhalant/Medication/Chemical Allergies & Intolerances, Asthma, Gut dysmotility & non-specific inflammation, Lupus, Osteoporosis, etc.; G-Tube
Meds: Flagyl, Domperidone, Claritin, Singulair, Andrographis & other herbs, homeopathy, supplements, etc.

Silas1066
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 2/21/2012 9:52 AM (GMT -6)   
I am avoiding antihistamines because my throat gets so dry, especially at night. Singulair doesn't do a thing for me.

I read a study last night that says GERD/LPR is way overdiagnosed, difficult to find in many patients, and treatments (PPIs) are no more effective than a placebo!

On the acid reflux board, there are a bunch of people who had surgery for GERD/LPR and it didn't do anything for them: they still have big problems.

This makes me think that something else is going on, because I have NO burning or heartburn, but I do have the globus sensation, a very dry throat, and a crackling voice (off and on). I also get some mild wheezing since coming down with bronchitis last year.

So if anyone with bad allergies and sinus problems here has symptoms similar to mine, let me know. Last thing I want to do is go down a rabbit hole with the whole acid reflux thing.

Carrie48
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 638
   Posted 2/24/2012 5:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Silas:

Wow....I'm having VERY similiar issues. I had a bad cold in early January and also started on some powerful ABX for lyme disease. A few weeks later, I started getting this throat clearing issue. At first I thought, no biggie...just leftovers from my cold. Well, finally went to my GI doc last week. He looked at my sinuses and said that they are about 50% blocked on both sides and gave me a nasal spray to take for seven days. This did nothing.

Now...I've been googling and am thinking (but praying that I'm wrong) that I have developed LPR. I have been taking Prilosec in the morning and night for the last two days (and everyday in the morning for a few weeks now) and that has helped a lot with the throat clearing but I still feel as though I have a sore throat or it's burning...I honestly can't tell which. I don't have the globus sensation but I do feel as though my voice is cracking off and on (only I can tell though).

I have also been reading all through the forums and I am very worried because it seems that this LPR is a lifelong condition but then I've read in a few areas that the problem can go away on it's own...have you read that?

I've also been reading that the surgery doesn't help people with LPR...I'm so scared of all this...I'm having trouble concentrating because I'm worried I now have another chronic conditoin that I'll never be rid of.

In the mornings when I get up, I can feel the drainage into my throat. I used my nettie pot this morning and now I'm clear, but I still feel like my throat is irritated. I don't know how I could possible be having heartburn on a double dose of prilosec every day. I mean, come on!

Ugh....please please keep me updated. I made an appt with an ENT next week on Thursday. Oh...I saw an ENT a few weeks ago (before my throat clearing got to the point where I thought I needed to address it with a doctor). I have a chronic obstruction in my sphenoid sinuses (noticed on an MRI of my brain that I had on an unrelated matter a long time ago). I've had these chronic obstruction for at least a year now but these problems didn't start until after my bad cold/ABX in January.... I don't know if these could be causing any of this or not....I don't think so.

I want to see my GI doc for some reassurance but he has no openings until APRIL!
DX with Lyme and Erlichosis in January 2010. January-August: Biaxin and Amoxicillian. September 2011 - ? on Rifampin and Zithromax. Symtpoms mostly neuro and have 20 small lesions on brain.

Silas1066
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 2/24/2012 5:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Carrie

I am frustrated with this as well. I'm taking 40mg of Prilosec a day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and still very little improvement.

Just like you, all of my problems started with a lung infection. The lung problems went away about 90% (I still get some wheezing here and there), but the throat issues never went away. For 6 months it was a feeling of mild irritation in the the throat and cracking voice. Then when the weather got cold and dry, the globus sensation started. This was 8 months after getting sick. I also get the PND, and sometimes feel like I have to clear my throat.

It's very strange that my ENT didn't see anything wrong when he scoped me, even though the problems are largely right behind my tongue, and an inch or two down my throat.

I do NOT want LPR. Even the thought of that is putting me into a depressive episode.

Mairi
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/25/2012 2:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Silas
I get exactly the same things as you describe that is supposedly acid reflux or GERD. Also I often get food stuck in my throat which can be very scary. I have stopped eating/drinking the foods that can cause the reflux but no improvement at all and nexium doesn't help and makes my dry mouth even drier.  I take a couple of medications for sleep/anxiety that I recently found out can weaken the muscle flap that closes the stomach and prevents the acid from going back up the esophagus. I had an endoscopy a few months back and it showed a stricture of the esophagus which can be stretched with a procedure done thru the endoscopy tube. I haven't had that done but seeing the specialist next month and hope to have it done soon. The endoscopy didn't hurt at all.
Hope this helps.  If you have any other info. I'd love to hear it - just need something to help and don't want to take meds forever.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3541
   Posted 2/25/2012 7:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm getting better results with my chronic sinus infections and headaches with using Mucinex 12 hour twice a day, than with all the antibiotics and antihistamines I've been given in the last 2+ years. Sinus surgery only worsened my problems and gave me chronic drippy nose.

Antihistamine sprays can cause dry nose and throat. The guaifenasine in Mucinex thins the gunk in the sinuses and lets it drain better, and helps the cilia (little hairs) in the lungs push the stuff out of the lungs.

Silas, if you were having spasms in the throat it wouldn't be seen on a scope. You don't spasm if you are unconscious. Thick mucus can feel like something stuck in the throat.

Carrie, When I had my paraesophageal hiatal hernia, a twice daily dose of Nexium just barely reduced the acid in my throat to the point of not burning right through it. My LES was stuck open. Have you had a barium swallow to check for hernia and reflux?

Carrie48
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 638
   Posted 2/29/2012 3:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Silas: Well, last night after dinner, I felt like my throat was kind of swollen and then about an hour later, I had that "lump in the throat feeling". Ugh...I HATE that feeling. Today, I'm still dealing with it somewhat.

I have an allergy to sulfa drugs, I know for sure. And now, I'm starting to believe that my sulfa allergies are making their way over to my foods. I was going thru some old medical stuff I have and I see that I have an allergy to garlic and onions. These are sulfa foods. Also, I have suddenly become very reactive to eggs. Last night for dinner I had grilled chicken with garlic salt on it, broccolli and rice... I think maybe I was having an allergic reaction which caused the lump in the throat. My sister gets this when she eats pineapple.

I'm very frustrated with all of this and don't even know where to start with this. It seems EVERYTHING has garlic or onion in it and I cook with these items all the time for my family. I wonder why all the sudden these things are happening. I wonder if it could be all the antibiotics that I've been on for over a year and if it's causing my immune system to become over reactive to these foods.

I guess I'll try avoiding these things for a while and see if it makes a difference. That is, after I eat my garlic coated chicken that I have in my crockpot tonight.....

Alcie: I know for sure that I have a loose LES. I had an endoscopy 10 years ago that showed that and then again a few years ago (I was have acid reflux related to gallbladder issues twice - had gallbladder removed a few years ago and all symptoms cleared). Anyway, even with LES all these years, no problem with acid reflux until these ABX and that cold I had. I'm wondering if my gut balance is off somehow and I need to correct it. I'm taking all kinds of probiotics...but still having issues.
DX with Lyme and Erlichosis in January 2010. January-August: Biaxin and Amoxicillian. September 2011 - ? on Rifampin and Zithromax. Symtpoms mostly neuro and have 20 small lesions on brain.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3541
   Posted 3/1/2012 12:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome new forum members. If you haven't already may I suggest starting your own threads so you get more answers.

If you get no relief from avoiding the traditional "reflux foods," it might help to check into food allergies and sensitivities. I can eat tomatoes and other acid foods just fine - unless they are processed or cooked with my reflux triggers. I react to things like gelatin, corn starch, mixed spices, garlic and onions, maple syrup, molasses, most salad dressings, most yogurts, some nuts and other weird stuff. My stomach heaves, what I call refluxing, and I often get very rapid heart beating.

New allergies can start at any time. I just got a new one to grass last summer when the grass pollen count was high. Pollen has increased even in some northern areas in February this year, so a visit to the allergist may be a good idea. Some of them are knowlegeable in food sensitivities too.

If you have true allergic symptoms after eating something you might try Benadryl or Alavert (or their generic ingredients). I've used both with success after eating sunflower seeds and getting a reaction.

If you only get stomach or esophagus reactions you may have a sensitivity, and antihistamines don't help, at least not for me. My only remedy is avoidance. I keep a food journal - see the search box at the top of the page for more info.

Gut balance is worth pursuing, but may have nothing to do with a sensitivity. My allergist lumps sensitivities with allergies. "Lump" feeling in the throat can be esophageal spasms. A gastroenterologist may be able to figure that one out with a swallowing test, but there's probably nothing to see with just a scope.

raccoon whisperer
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/1/2012 6:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I have GERD and slow stomach emptying time. Many of us who have it know the symptoms and really know what we should not be eating like fatty foods. Also, we know that small meals really helps.
I wanted to suggest something for your dry throat and crackling voice. I've found that if I don't drink enough water, I have problems with my voice. It crackles and feels like I could fix it if I cleared my throat, but that doesn't help. So you might try more water. Helped me.
Silas1066 said...
I am avoiding antihistamines because my throat gets so dry, especially at night. Singulair doesn't do a thing for me.

I read a study last night that says GERD/LPR is way overdiagnosed, difficult to find in many patients, and treatments (PPIs) are no more effective than a placebo!

On the acid reflux board, there are a bunch of people who had surgery for GERD/LPR and it didn't do anything for them: they still have big problems.

This makes me think that something else is going on, because I have NO burning or heartburn, but I do have the globus sensation, a very dry throat, and a crackling voice (off and on). I also get some mild wheezing since coming down with bronchitis last year.

So if anyone with bad allergies and sinus problems here has symptoms similar to mine, let me know. Last thing I want to do is go down a rabbit hole with the whole acid reflux thing.
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