Could these chest pains be GERD?

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girl_geek
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 10/21/2009 10:23 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been reading old threads and am amazed at how many different symptoms can be caused by GERD!  So now I am wondering...
 
I mentioned in my first thread that my GERD started earlier this year when I was on antibiotics for acne, but it did not go away when I quit the antibiotics and took probiotics.  I never had heartburn; my main symptoms were nausea, a sensation like my last meal was trying to come back up (ew...) which usually happened at night, and eventually a lump in the back of my throat.
 
I finally asked my doctor about it and he had me try a double dose of Prilosec OTC a few weeks ago, which he said was equivalent to the Rx.  I didn't realize you were supposed to wait a while before eating so I took them immediately before breakfast and saw no improvement.
 
I quit Prilosec and went about a week before trying a new Rx (Nexium).  During that week without meds, I had chest pain (a feeling of pressure) nearly every day!  But I'm almost positive the pain was GERD, because it always happened a few hours after eating, and sometimes I could actually feel the pressure rising up my chest, and sometimes when I drank a glass of water I could feel it go back down.  It went away when I ate a meal.  Weird...
 
Then I started Nexium (and waited before breakfast!) and that pressure definitely improved, though I still get a little bit sometimes.  I've had no nausea while on Nexium either, but it has only been a week.  The lump in the throat comes and goes.
 
However, I have additional sensations in my chest that I wonder about .... while I was on those antibiotics, I went to the ER twice for heart palpitations and was diagnosed with PVC's (they caught one on the Holter monitor!)  My mom and brother also get PVC's and my doctor assurred me I had nothing to worry about.  I also had several EKG's and a heart ultrasound which showed no problems.  I never considered PVC's might be related to GERD and/or antibiotics....
 
I also recently had an abdominal ultrasound and everything looked normal.  But I have had no GERD tests -- my doctor's waiting to see if I respond to meds first.
 
Lately (this started before trying Prilosec and hasn't changed with meds) I've also been getting mild, random chest pains in various places.  They can occur on either side of my chest, upper or lower chest (just above or just below each breast).  They usually last less than a minute but sometimes longer.  The last few days I've been getting some other pains/pressure that are just to the side of my breastbone, can occur on left or right side, and last longer (a few minutes to an hour).  None are severe but I notice them for sure.... Could all these things be GERD?
 
I will of course ask my doctor at my next follow-up in two weeks, but I'm just wondering.... all my symptoms seem mild, and my doctor insists I'm healthy.  Should I consider a referral to a GI or take my doctor's word that I'm fine?  Sometimes I think the internet makes me a hypochondriac ;)  I definitely gave myself a few anxiety attacks before the tests ruled out serious conditions!  (Plus I've already missed enough work for doctor appointments....)
 
Also if it matters, my symptoms seem very random and I have yet to tie them to any food.  I'll go days and feel fine even if I eat total junk or lots of acidic foods; other times I'll have symptoms several days in a row.  I don't exercise but have a high metabolism so I've always been thin (yeah, I know I should exercise anyway but I don't have weight loss to motivate me ;)).  I've been cooking a lot healthier at home (trying to limit simple carbs, sodium, bad fats, caffeine; eat more healthy fats, whole grains, fruits/veggies, lean protein) but I'll admit I still eat out more than I should ;)  Everything looked fine at my last physical, except for low levels of vitamin D so I added a supplement.  Oh, and I'm only 28.
 
And if you made it through that rambling post, thanks! :)

WriterMum
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 10/21/2009 6:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I had been to the emergency room a couple of times with chest pains. Finally they did a scope down my throat and found that I have a hiatus hernia. The pains do feel quite varied, and I have been cleared of all heart problems, so I am pretty sure it is just the GERD and the hernia. It is always best to check these things out however.

BTW - I have been on Nexium on and off for a while. It is effective, but occasionally if I eat something bad I have to add a Tums or Rolaids to the mix! My GI said it was OK to do that.
44 years old. Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's in April 2005. Hiatus hernia diagnosed in 2008. Had Crohn's under control until March this year when I had a major flare up and ended up in hospital. Diagnosis is now CD and IBS. Getting it under control again.
Currently taking: Prednisone 0 mg (as of this week!!), Salofalk 2000 mg, Nexium 40 mg, Calcium and Vitamin D, Matamucil, Yogurt for probiotics, Salofalk suppositories as needed.


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 10/21/2009 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes. The HH can cause pains like that when it's irritated. I used to think I was having a heart attack before I started and stayed on Nexium.

Joy
Health problems: sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, GERD, glaucoma, OA, environmental, food, and drug allergies, asthma, high cholesterol, pre-diabetic
Medications:Nexium 2X a day, 300mg Zantac, K-Dur, Lasix 2X a day, Zyrtec, Zocor, Lumigan, fish oil, B12, Substex, calcium + D, Advair, Albuteral, nebulizer
 
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
 
 


girl_geek
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 10/22/2009 9:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the replies!

Can an HH only be detected with a scope? Or would it have shown up on my abdominal sonogram? (Of course, I had fasted and wasn't having symptoms on the day of the sonogram so....)

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 10/22/2009 5:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Mine showed up on my barium swallow and EDG.

Joy
Health problems: sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, GERD, glaucoma, OA, environmental, food, and drug allergies, asthma, high cholesterol, pre-diabetic
Medications:Nexium 2X a day, 300mg Zantac, K-Dur, Lasix 2X a day, Zyrtec, Zocor, Lumigan, fish oil, B12, Substex, calcium + D, Advair, Albuteral, nebulizer
 
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
 
 


WriterMum
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 10/24/2009 2:05 PM (GMT -6)   
My HH was diagnosed by an upper GI endoscopy. It wasn't seen on the upper GI study and small bowel follow through, but I might not have had it then.
44 years old. Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's in April 2005. Hiatus hernia diagnosed in 2008. Had Crohn's under control until March this year when I had a major flare up and ended up in hospital. Diagnosis is now CD and IBS. Getting it under control again.
Currently taking: Salofalk 2000 mg, Calcium and Vitamin D, Matamucil, Yogurt for probiotics, Salofalk suppositories as needed.


Orange E
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 10/24/2009 6:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I cannot believe I haven't been into these forums sooner! Reading through them gives me a whole new perspective on my 7 year problem (chronic cough). Been to every specialist: ENT, Gastro, Allergist, Pulm, and even a cough clinic. Taken so many different meds as a guinea pig from Advair 50/500 to Ranitidine 150mg and no real relief (except for Deconamine...that helped me the most in all these years).
 
But now, I have been having pains on the left side of my chest. Be them either waking me up or just random throughout a day; it's worrying me. I never really gave it any thought about GERD though. But I have also yet to be diagnosed with it too. So far, every doc has thrown up their hands and have had no success with my cough.
 
I will dig deeper in thinking maybe it is GERD related afterall? Who knows, I'm at my wit's end but am comforted in knowing I'm really not alone. It's especially frustrating when my GP thinks I don't have a coughing problem or chest pains because they don't present whilst in her presence. Now, off to the next forum for more support...and learning.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/26/2009 7:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to HealingWell and the GERD/Heartburn Forum.  Good to have you with us and I am glad you are finding information here that is helpful to you.  Stick with us as the members are kind and caring and very knowledgable.
 
Again a warm welcome,
 
Kitt
 
 

~~ Kitt ~~
Moderator: Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn  &
Anxiety/Panic
*~* http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
"I am not a mental health professional, nor do I play one on TV, I just kind of talk like one!"



girl_geek
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 10/27/2009 9:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for the replies, everyone!

The chest pains were getting worse but from what I read, the symptoms seem very consistant with a hiatal hernia (in particular, pains felt much better when standing than sitting...) I went back to my doctor and he agreed, and he referred me to a GI to get that scope test done. Since the lump in the throat feeling still comes and goes, they can also check for esophagal damage. My doctor does seem confident it's GERD / HH though, and not ulcers or cardiac problems or anything.

I'm also finally starting to get more strict about my diet since it's obvious I'm not going to get a quick fix from meds. The last few days I've started to eliminate the most common GERD triggers and my symptoms have definitely improved but are not completely gone though. It's hard though because almost all my favorite foods are common GERD triggers -- I put tomatos, garlic, and onions in almost everything I cook; I love chocolate and and anything citrusy; I make homemade vinegiarettes for all my salads; I love Indian and Asian food (lots of garlic, spices, etc.); I still like my occasional caffeine-free Dr Pepper (I've been avoiding caffeine for the PVC's).... But I'm sure you all can sympathize ;) So we'll start with this diet, and if my symptoms don't improve I'll try to keep a food diary and see if I have any other triggers!

Thanks for the support -- I never would have thought it was an HH without your replies, I might have ended up in the ER again (even though my doctor keeps telling me my heart is fine)!

girl_geek
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 11/2/2009 5:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, I've got an EDG scheduled for Nov. 17th, woohoo! (That was a sarcastic woohoo, by the way ;) ) We'll see what they find... Diet is definitely helping but is not eliminating the symptoms completely!

And wow, I had to resist a giant pile of leftover Halloween candy at work today.... this is just going to get more difficult with the holidays, since everything seems to center around food! :(

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 11/2/2009 7:42 PM (GMT -6)   
EGD was no sweat to me. They knocked me out and I didn't know a thing until I woke.

Joy
Health problems: sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, GERD, glaucoma, OA, environmental, food, and drug allergies, asthma, high cholesterol, pre-diabetic
Medications:Nexium 2X a day, 300mg Zantac, K-Dur, Lasix 2X a day, Zyrtec, Zocor, Lumigan, fish oil, B12, Substex, calcium + D, Advair, Albuteral, nebulizer
 
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
 
 


girl_geek
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 11/2/2009 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
That's good to know! The doctor said I wouldn't be completely under but I'd be in "la la land" hehe ;)
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