First time poster, (perhaps) long-time sufferer....

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 1/4/2008 11:32 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm not really sure where to start so I'll just wade in! about 4 months ago I noticed I was waking during the night feeling like I was choking. I could breathe, but I felt like I couldn't swallow! The area I live in is very dry during the fall/winter months, and I have chronic sinusitis, so I thought it was related to that and increased my water intake. The inability to swallow only happened occasionally, not every night, so I wasn't concerned, and after a second or two I was always able to swallow. But then it occurred to me that over the past couple of years I've had occasions when I had trouble swallowing food (specifically breads, fine with other food), but again it wasn't constant and I figured I hadn't chewed enough or was "swallowing dry". With the chronic sinusitis and allergy symptoms I experience (post nasal drip, congestion, etc) it's tough to say what is being caused by that and what may be coming from another cause.
I've only ever had occasional heartburn, but in the last couple of weeks I've had some intense episodes of night-time heartburn. I've also continued to experience the difficult swallowing at night, as well as a "lump in my throat" feeling many days (I can generally swallow fine during the day, though). I was diagnosed with asthma about 5 years ago when I was having episodes of coughing at night, but now I'm wondering if I might have also had GERD all along. That worries me a bit since I'm concerned I may have sustained damage to my esophagus if it was GERD and has been left untreated confused
I'm planning to see my doctor as soon as possible, but I'm looking for some advice. Should my doctor be trying specific tests? Or do they generally try medications first? I have been using Prevacid Complete on occasion, and while it seems to help a bit at night the trouble swallowing still occurs even when I've used it.
I have to admit that I've gotten myself a bit freaked out about this (too much googling, sigh) and am now worried about Barrett's, an esophageal stricture, or even cancer. I know that's getting way ahead of myself but my symptoms do worry me. Any advice/support is very much appreciated!

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 1/4/2008 1:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Do you ever have heartburn?  Or burning in your throat, chest, neck area.  If not, then you may not have gerd.  I think a lot of people think they have this condition when they can not find any other reason for their symptoms.  Food getting stuck could be just not chewing properly or eating too fast.  I wouldn't get yourself worked up either way.  If you havent had frequent burning in your thraot or chest pain, then you probably have nothing to worry about but I would definitely see the doctor and find out what he or she thinks.  Good luck.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 1/4/2008 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you, Lucy007. In the past I've only had heartburn occasionally, but recently it has been much more frequent, particularly at night. I've also heard that GERD can be "silent" in that you don't always have chronic heartburn pain but can still have GERD. I've managed to schedule a doctor appointment for the end of this month (his first available) so I'm thinking I'll avoid trigger foods and use OTC drugs to see if it helps and then that might actually help him make his diagnosis (if it does help then I probably do have some sort acid reflux going on, and if it doesn't help then probably something else). Thanks again.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 1/4/2008 10:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I think there may be an actual disorder of the muscles in the esophagus related to swallowing and I wondering if maybe that's your issue. Your doc will probably order some basic tests and maybe try some stronger acid reducing medication.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 1345
   Posted 1/5/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there njam. A few things...don't worry yourself about cancer or even Barretts. Just dont' let yourself go to that point yet.

I would suggest meeting with a GI doctor, and they may wanna perform some tests on you such as a barium swallow, or endoscopy...after listening to your symptoms, they will decide.

For the record, you can have GERD without heartburn, it is possible.

You need to stop googling, cuz you will drive yourself crazy.

Your first step is to meet with a primary doctor who will probably refer you to a GI. Go from there.

Feel free to stick with us, ask questions, and get the infomation and support you need right now.

Promise me one thing though...YOU WILL STOP GOOGLING! Googling should be considered a disease in itself! LOL.

Really though, get with a doc, see what's going on, and don't worry yourself to death.

Keep us posted!

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