Posted 10/5/2010 4:59 PM (GMT -7)
Hey arby barbie,
I realize a lot of time has passed since you last posted this but I happened to see this on here after an online search and wanted to see if there was any update. Have you improved some? What has helped?
I'm curious because I had a similar thing happen to me. I am also 30 and never had any health problems prior to this year. I somehow ended up herniating a disc in my neck and unfortunately I didn't have a good doctor lined up at the time so my beginning symptoms (ringing in my ears, feeling off balance, etc) led many of the doctors I saw to just think I had anxiety or something which didn't make sense in my case. Anyway, they prescribed me muscle relaxants and I spent most of my time lying down on my back with my neck specifically positioned very flat on a pillow while I waited for them to figure out what was causing me so much pain and all that. I spent nearly 2 months like that lying down while taking muscle relaxants and occasionally an anti-anxiety pill in the hopes that it might help. But, it didn't. I even ate lying down. Little did I know that this whole time I was doing damage to my LES as each time I was putting the muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety meds into my body, my LES was being forced to relax. Plus, a lot was being asked of it since I was eating lying down 24/7. I eventually started feeling a pressure in my chest but ignored it as it was the least of my worries at the time. One day, though, I suddenly tasted metal in my mouth and my throat started closing off on me. At first we thought it might be an allergy to the MRI dye that I had that day, but looking back it makes more sense that it was silent acid reflux. After all, during the MRI I had been lying down completely flat for 1 1/2 hour. Plenty of time for acid reflux to come up and rear its head. After that, my throat was extemely touchy and it would spasm every time I ate anything acidic. Anything that even had a touch of citric acid in it would set my throat off. At one point, a random ENT prescribed me prilosec but he only gave me enough for 2 weeks. When I went off it, I had the worst time ever, which I'll explain later. I also lost weight, although I had some farm girl muscle to sustain me through a lot of it. I've always been muscular so I started out at 155 and am now at about 140. I know 140 may sound like a lot (the doctors seemed unconcerned, at least) but I haven't weighed that since middle school, so that gives you an idea of how lightweight that is for me. I graduated from high school weighing about 150 and when I work out I actually gain weight rather than lose it.
Anyway, all of this throat and LES stuff started in May and, even though I've improved some, I'm still dealing with it in October.
So, this is what I've learned, in case it helps you...PPI's aren't the be all and the end all. In fact, they can backfire on you. There have been some recent studies done that have found that some people's body's respond to PPI's by actually making more cells that produce acid. This means that you are basically stuck on the drug because if you ever go off of it then your stomach will be destroyed from literally 10 times the normal amount of acid being in your digestive system. When I went off Prilosec, I literally shook (my teeth shattered) and I peed every 5 minutes. I felt like a drug addict coming off of cocaine or something. I didn't know I was going through Prilosec withdrawal at the time but the intense acid that followed the beginning symptoms was a pretty good clue. I actually think that prilosec is partially what screwed up my LES so badly as, prior to prilosec, I hadn't even tasted my acid. If you'd like info on these studies that I found, just post something on here. I currently use Zantac and my diet to try to control acid.
Speaking of diet, that is very important. I've found that eating easy to digest foods (simple starches and foods) are the best rather than eating foods with lots of ruffage and stuff like that. My sister has crohn's so she helped me figure out things that are easy to digest. I would absentmindedly eat carrots, for example, and would realize later (after some stomach pains and seeing them show up in my stool) they were the wrong thing to eat. What I tend to eat in a day is oatmeal, granola bars, mashed potatoes, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, cooked green beans or peas, maybe some bananas or an egg here and there (but you have to be careful with eggs and too much protein encourages acid production. Fatty things are supposed to encourage acid production, too, so ice cream and whatnot may not be a good idea.
Also, staying away from chocolate, tomatoes, and mint are important as those things relax your LES, too. Watch out because a lot of things for your stomach like teas and whatnot have peppermint in them. People think peppermint is good because it relaxes your stomach but you don't want to relax it you want to get it working again.
I've learned that melatonin (the hormone that helps you sleep) is supposed to trigger your LES to work so you might try taking some of that, although I haven't tried it yet. I don't think my regular melatonin is doing much as I always wake up with a sore throat these days.
Another thing that helps is mild aerobic exercise. I have taken up walking every day as I've noticed that helps a lot. In fact, just staying upright and straight helps rather than sitting hunched over all the time. Also, swallowing can trigger your LES to spring into action. I'm to the point where I can literally feel my LES kick into gear when it decides to as it suctions off my stomach and then all of the air that has been sitting in there fills my tummy out really full and I feel like I'm going to burst. :) But, this is a small price to pay to know that my LES is at least still trying.
I also try to take simethicone or anti-gas pills whenever I eat to help cut down on any excess gas that may be contributing to the problem. Also, try to make yourself go to the bathroom regularly. I can literally feel my LES try to spring into action after I go to the bathroom. There's suddently less pressure on it so it can work easier. I try to drink lots of water to help with that.
Also, I've learned that accupuncture can help treat your LES. I've tried it a couple of time and it seemed to help but haven't gone back yet. It usually takes 5 to 6 sessions for someone's body to fully react to this. I've also heard that chiropractors can sometimes help the LES somehow.
Anyway, these are just some of the things I've learned so far. Hope you have been improving! My problem is that I get too ahead of myself too soon and eat a carrot or something and then set myself back again. So, I have to remember to take baby steps and that it will take a long time for my LES to fully heal.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I also had a racing heart and chest pains from all of this. Doctors, of course, thought this was anxiety but I realized over time that it was the acid getting into my esophagus and really irritating it that was setting me off. I started realizing that everytime I bent over my heart would flutter a bit awkwardly. Over time, this settled down some and I stopped having the racing heart so much. So, your "anxiety" may simply be triggered by the physicality of the whole situation. It's not comfortable to have your heart beating fast and you're obviously getting a rush of adrenaline when this happens. Hence, you feel anxious. It helped me to know just exactly what was going on.