Could this be GERD related? Breathing issues.

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/22/2009 1:25 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm 24 and I would say I'm in pretty good health. I jog 5 times a week, walk every day, and lift weights 2 times a week. I'm skinny and fit.

I have many symptoms of GERD. My abdomen feels very full, bloated, and my abdominal muscles feel tight. I belch throughout the day and occasionally will regurgitate and cough too. My dad has GERD which he controls through medication. I fear I've inherited his stomach.

The most bothersome symptom is that it feels like I have to strain to get a full satisfying breath. I usually breath slowly through my abdomen, but since my abdominal muscles are tight and bloated, it feels like I sometimes get smaller incomplete breaths through my chest.

A couple of years ago I went to the ER with this exact same thing and they told me nothing was wrong with me. I had several EKGs done, all of which came out normal, and a visit to an asthma doctor showed I was negative for asthma. My chest X-Ray was normal, my blood work was normal, my echo cardiogram was normal, and my blood pressure was normal. In the end I was sent home with anxiety medicine.

Since then this has come and gone.

Is it normal for GERD to make breathing uncomfortable? I feel like I've explored every other physical avenue and I do not believe this is all just anxiety...

Post Edited (Anduin) : 6/22/2009 12:31:38 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 6/22/2009 6:42 AM (GMT -6)

Anduin, welcome. Above is the link to an extensive discussion about the effects that GERD has on breathing, both Denise and I have written on this and I think you'll be able to get some answers from this thread. There is another one that is also on breathing issues; it was also started by motox and it is currently at the bottom of page 2, you may want ot look at that one as well.

GERD can and does cause problems with breathing, a little for some, very extensive for others. It's difficult to diagnose and, unless you have true asthma, it can also be elusive, so unless you're symptomatic most Dr.'s don't understand it.

Please read through these posts, hopefully the information there will answer some of your questions.
Edit, I linked your reference thread. :-)

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 6/22/2009 7:24:42 AM (GMT-6)

gentleman k
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 6/22/2009 7:42 AM (GMT -6)   
GERD can cause some breathing problems, but the most common symptom is persistent heartburn 2 or more times a week. You probably should see a GI doctor to be able to be properly diagnosed for GERD if that in case is your problem. Good luck and welcome to

gentleman k

20 mg. Prilosec once a day for my GERD
20 mg. Paxil once a day for my depression and anxiety

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/22/2009 8:26 AM (GMT -6)   

Good Morning Anduin

Welcome to HealingWell.  Here is another bit of info you may find helpful.  Just click on the link:



Moderator: Osteoarthritis & GERD/Heartburn
Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, & Depression
*~* *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 6/22/2009 9:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Kitt!

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/22/2009 11:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks the replies/links all!

So, GERD mostly damages the lungs in the night time through aspiration? How long does it take for the lungs to be permanently damaged? I've started propping my head up and not eating several hours before bed, hopefully that will eliminate this possibility...

I'm not sure if the acid went all the way up my throat to the vocal cords though, because I have had no vocal cord symptoms (no horse voice or soreness in the area). Do you think it is also possible for GERD to simply make it feel like you can't expand your chest all the way, even if it doesn't reach all the way to your lungs?

Post Edited (Anduin) : 6/22/2009 10:49:34 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 6/22/2009 1:51 PM (GMT -6)   

Anduin, I'm not a Dr., so I can't tell you exactly and remember that everyone is different, but:

In my case, the aspiration was mostly at night, yes and I have no idea how long it takes to permanently damage the lungs; my breathing problems spanned years, not months.  My hunch is that the shorter the time frame, the more likely you are to not have permanent damage, but that is just my hunch.

Most of us have/had the same complaint, it feels like you can't expand your lungs/chest far enough to get in a deep breath; it feels like you just can't get a good deep this case your chest/lungs are the same entity.  Is this a function of esophageal spasm or inflammation in your lungs? from what I was told it was inflammation in your lungs, but then again I am not a Dr. and it takes a well rounded expert in the reflux field to answer this.

IMO, if you are already saying that you can't seem to get enough air in, you may already have inflammation in your chest/lungs; but this does not mean that you have permanent damage.  You've already started to raise your head while sleeping and avoiding food several hours prior to going to bed, good for you! it's best to be proactive!  With your other symptoms it is important that you get with a very good gastroenterologist and have a thorough GI work-up.

Good luck!



Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/22/2009 6:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, I'm learning more and more each day (although I wish I didn't have to!). I've had that same feeling at night in bed, feeling like you just can't get a deep full breath. But I've never had asthma or anything and I just attributed it to stress from everything in my life.

This raises interesting possibilities. Thanks for the post and the responses!


Michael - SA/TX
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 6/22/2009 6:33 PM (GMT -6)   
In my experience, yes.

I have many lung problems, but the acid buildup in my stomach makes a feeling similar to a pneumothroax in my case.

Sometimes, it can make it difficult to get a breath, and make it feel like the air is as thick as a bottle of syrup.

My PCP and Pulmonologist, both cannot give a definate answer on what causes my body to feel this way...

...however with 80mg of Protonix in my system a day - it is under control more that it is without medication.

Some days the medication doesn't help - but I can tell a huge difference being on the Protonix, versus, not being on it.
- Michael
- 26 Years Old
- Male
- San Antonio, Texas - USA

* Chronic Pain
* Seizure D/O
* Migraines / Bleeding
* Anxiety / Depression / Insomnia
* Respiratory Issues - Asthma, COPD, Lung Disease (Pneumothroax Disorder)

* Methadone / 10mg / 3 times daily for pain
* Ibuprofen / 600mg / 3 times daily for pain
* Tylenol / 650mg / 3 times daily for pain
* Propranolol / 40mg / Twice daily for migraine, B/P
* Protonix / 40mg / Twice daily for acid buildup, nausea
* Buspirone / 5mg / 3 times daily for anxiety
* Singulair / 10mg / Evening for breathing
* Phenergan / 25mg / 4 times daily for nausea
* Flonase / Allergies
* Imitrex / 25mg at onset for migraine, 1 tablet every 2 hours not to exceed 8 tablets in 24 hours
* Proventil / Asthma, COPD
* Asmanex / 220mcg / Asthma, COPD
* Combivent / Asthma, COPD

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 6/23/2009 6:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi PA Lady,
Welcome to our neighborhood! Glad to have you join us. Sorry you have reason to do so, but happy to get to know you here. When you say you're propping up your head, do you mean with pillows? If so, that can actually make your reflux worse. You'll need to get risers for the legs under the head of your bed. They sell them at any medical supply store. You can also use wood or bricks.

Forgive me if you've already done this! Sometimes people assume that extra pillows will do the trick. That just bends the body in a way that forces even more acid up into the esophagus. If you already know this, maybe it'll help some other person looking for information!
Good luck!

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/23/2009 1:24 PM (GMT -6)   
God, this is me !! Hellp, I am a male, 42 and since Feb 8th I have had trouble gettng that deep breath also.
It started like once a week and went a way, then on 2/8 it came back and hasnt gone away sonce. I even went to the emergency room on 2/8 and they found nothing wrong, I have since been to the heart doctor, lung doctor, had a sleep study done, my regualr doctor, a therapist because they "insists" its anxiety (no way, not at all, My life was great and I want it back)
I wnet to the Gastro and had an Endoscopy done and he found gastritis, a hiatal hernia and some kind of mild esophageal swelling .....

I have been on Prilosec for about a month and I have lost 87 lbs since 2/8.
It seems to be getting better but Im really miserable, no quality of life and it always gets worse after I eat....many times I have to take gas-x, I eat small meals, blandish style meals, wait three hours before laying down, Im constipated...severely.....

HELP !!!!!
Any ideas, questions, or suggestions ??
I also went for bloodwork to get my thyroid checked. Im not an anxious or dperessed person, Im so baffled, conused and now scared - The week this started, I was eating really large amounts of food (superbowl party) and drinking massive amounts of soda.......

Please tell me this will not last forever ......


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 132
   Posted 6/29/2009 5:20 PM (GMT -6)   



I am 24, and have the same thing also, look at my posts...

No one can figure me out!!

This sucks

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 7/2/2009 10:38 PM (GMT -6)   
21 and same here, Geoffrey I feel your pain on the constipation! I drink a ton of milk and protien shakes though as I'm trying to put on muscle mass so this is probably what's causing it for me.
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