Think I have GERD but not sure

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/18/2010 3:47 AM (GMT -6)   
I posted previously under allergies and I received a reply that I may have GERD. I don't have heartburn or any kind of pain. For quite a while now, I have had trouble with phlegm and having to spit frequently. I have always had this problem, but it seemed to worsen in the last few years. My doctor referred me to an allergist, who prescribed flonase. With the allergist's permission, I also take Alavert. The doctor said that I could take Claritin-D from time to time, but not daily because it could increase my blood pressure level. Here is what I have done since suspecting that I have GERD: I have been sleeping with a wedged pillow that we bought years ago in the hopes of alleviating my husband's snoring (he didn't like it); I take my vitamins in the morning with a complete glass of juice, whereas previously I took only a few swallows; and, I have begun to lose weight, which I have needed to do (I'm about 15-20 pounds overweight). Recently I ran out of the flonase and forgot to renew the prescription; however, my symptoms have not worsened. I have been on phase 1 of the South Beach diet. Instead of cranberry juice, I have been drinking tomato juice with breakfast. I hate to sound gross, so please forgive my description. In the morning first thing, I have to spit accumulated phlegm (which is clear). While I'm preparing breakfast, I keep a kleenex handy. My husband is used to seeing me spit (discreetly) into a kleenex when I eat. Sometimes I take an Alavert or a Claritin-D if I'm really having a problem. Since trying the above-described methods, I have improved tremendously. I am not against going back to the doctor to have my symptoms verified as GERD, but I have a few trips planned and it may be after the beginning of the year. Thank you.

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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 10/18/2010 8:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi MrsS,
Many of us have more complex issues that involve more than one problem. Like you, I have allergies. I also have a lot of postnasal drip, and my nose makes seemingly gallons of clear mucous. Have you tried nasal washings--either with a netti pot or sniffing water from your hand? I use a pint container and add 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (it doesn't have the chemical to keep it from clumping) and 1/2 tsp. of baking soda. I dissolve those in a pint of distilled water. (I guess that ensures that my nose isn't getting doused with chlorine or minerals in regular water.) I then shake it up to mix it well, then lean over the sink. I pour a little into my hand, then sniff it way up into my nose. (You won't get it in your lungs, because you're leaning over, and it comes out your mouth, and drains back out of your nose.) It works great for me, and might help you get some of the mucous out so you're not struggling with it constantly.

I also have had GERD for at least 20 years. My allergist/asthma doc said that reflux can actually effect the nose/sinuses. I ended up getting the reflux surgery (Nissen Fundoplication) because the reflux I got (actually not very severe--and sometimes silent, meaning I didn't know I had it) was causing my lungs to be very unhealthy and inflamed.

The things you're doing are good. My concern, though, is that if you're having reflux, the fruit and tomato juices you drink can be triggers for reflux. You might want to look online for "GERD triggers" to find those foods that can make things worse.

I'm not sure if your sinus issues are caused by GERD, but it could be a contributing factor. Good luck finding answers to your questions. I'm sure others here will stop in to give their opinions and suggestions.

Welcome to the GERD forum!
Best wishes,

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/18/2010 1:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Denise, thanks for the great advice. I do use a neti pot from time to time. I began drinking the tomato juice as part of Phase I of the South Beach diet, since regular fruit juices aren't allowed during this phase. It didn't mean to affect me in the short run, but I have now finished the bottle and will look for alternatives. You said: "I'm not sure if your sinus issues are caused by GERD, but it could be a contributing factor." I have always had some sinus problems, and I think that the GERD clouded the present situation. I was diagnosed based on my sinus problems. I really appreciate your message.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 234
   Posted 10/18/2010 4:39 PM (GMT -6)   
MrsS the cranberry juice you were drinking is very good for GERD. It helps the stomach digest food and is very akaline in your stomach so soothing.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/18/2010 7:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Moo'sMum, I was temporarily off fruit juice because I was trying to lose weight on South Beach. It's also good for prevention of urinary tract infection. I'll begin again. I'm glad to be reassured. Thank you.
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