Reflux and lungs

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Jeronimo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/26/2011 5:38 AM (GMT -6)   
I think my reflux is affecting my lungs and I need some opinions and advice to what is happening to me.

I am 21 years old and I have had acid reflux (PPIs eliminates heartburn but i still get frecuent regurgitation) for about 4 years now. Have tried all of the PPIs, been for a long time with pantoprazole and currently with it.
The thing is, for the last year or so I have had a "light stabing" sensation in my lungs. I figured a few things which trigged it like soft drinks (such as Coca-Cola, Redbull, etc...) so i have stopped having them but its difficult at my age. But anyways, it sometimes happens with any kind of food.
The thing is that its getting worser, but the "light stabing" is less, its confusion. Now I have difficulties breathing when it happens and this difficulty lasts a day or two. During these days I have hyperventilation, weezing sounds, I feel very tired, etc.

I have been to the especilist and went one to emergencies. They have done 4 x-rays of my lungs and they said that it was clean, no problems. They also analyzed my blood and had a "blow test" to measure my breathing capacity. The results were that i had a shortness of breath when exhaling aire, they told me that I have some hyperventilation. Their conclusions were thats its due to my allergies. But Im not sure if this is correct because i usually have problems after of while Im eating.
They are gonna give me a vaccine next month for the allergies, I dont think thats the reason of my problems, we┬┤ll see.

Anyone with the same problems or knowledge? I appreaciate any help!
Thanks!!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/26/2011 6:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear Jeronimo,

If you are showing asthma symptoms, and you know it's worse after eating, then I don't understand why your doctors don't jump on that with more tests for refux.

My asthma doctor was adamant that my asthma problems were related to my reflux, and was very proactive in getting me tested by a GI doc. My PCP also pushed hard to get me into a GI doc and get things tested.

My problem got progressively worse, and I got to the point where I was taking high doses of steroids just to keep things going. Finally, I ended up having reflux surgery, and my lungs improved afterwards.

You know your body the best. If you think that your asthma symptoms worsen after eating, it is important that you make an appointment with a GI doc and get yourself tested.

Many here have had their lungs negatively affected by reflux. It's not something to play around with. Mine did not cause permanent damage, but others have, and over time if your reflux is bad enough, it could. You don't want to let it go without treatment.

I'm not saying you'll need surgery to correct your problem, but I am saying that it is serious enough to need to be checked out.

I had gotten allergy shots for probably 15 years. The past 10 years, I started having some reflux, although I didn't get regurge as you (and many others) describe. I had a relatively small amount of reflux and it caused me lots of problems. The last four years before my surgery I had a hospitalization for GERD related asthma, and was on unhealthy doses of steroids. The last year before my surgery I was on a nebulizer treatment several times a day. I wish I'd had it done much sooner.

So, yes...reflux can cause asthma. If you can't get anyone to realize that, you need to get some second opinions. Stay strong. If you know your symptoms worsen after eating, stick to that, and don't let the docs talk you out of it.

You could keep a journal regarding symptoms/when they happen/and even take peak flows if you have a peak flow meter. That would help bolster your case with the doctors.

Good luck with finding an answer to your problem!
Glad you've joined us here at Healing Well!
Take care,
Denise

Jeronimo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/26/2011 7:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh, yes, ive had reflux test such as an endoscopy and a barium swallow about a year or two. The endoscopy picked up a small hiatal hernia but the barium swallow didnt. They told me that the barium swallow was more accurate so they told me that there was no hiatal hernia. When they performed the barium swallow I saw how the doctor looking at the monitors was a bit surprised, he didnt tell me anything, but I suppose it was because he didnt see nothing wrong. I had a monitor to see for myself and saw how the liquid went down and really didnt go back up...I was also suprised and confused. I did do the test while on PPIs, although they told me that it wouldnt matter.

They tried 2 times to do a monometry and a 24h phmetry but I just freak out with that tube through my nose. I really got pissed with myself for not being able to do it so I think I might ask for a third and last time, I must do it this time to see whats going on.

Buy anyways, I do have regurgitation for fact and its probably affecting my lungs. The problem is that im no big fan of the Nissen surgery, the specialists dont recomend it to me, they say it can do more harm than good.

Dencha, did you have the Nissen?

Thanks!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/26/2011 8:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes I did...in 2009. I think you'll need to reach deep inside yourself and overcome your inability to have the manometry and ph test.

I will say this. They tell us that anyone with a DeMeester score (on the PH test) are having "normal" amounts of reflux. The worst mine ever registered was 14. My asthma doc says that these GI docs have no idea how small the reflux needs to be to cause severe damage to lungs, and cause asthma reactions.

I had the surgery anyway, and am glad I did. My PCP and asthma docs both were in favor of it and pushed the GI doc in that direction. As I said, it took 4 years to finally get the GI doc onboard and get the courage to do it.

I have had barium swallows that show no reflux. That is a very thick liquid, and it doesn't tell the whole story.

Work on your "mind over matter" attitude and find a way to get those other two tests. They are critical. You can do it! Nobody loves them...but they're just a necessity in moving toward recovery.

Good luck!
Denise

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/26/2011 8:05 AM (GMT -6)   
If you can at least get the PH monitor, it will measure your reflux over 24 hours. You may not need the manometry. Depends on the PH score. You would never want to have surgery without the manometry, though, as it give the surgeon important information regarding how tight to make the wrap/what kind of wrap surgery to perform.
Good luck!
Denise

Jeronimo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/26/2011 8:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes, thats what the specialist told me. I cant be a candidate to surgery without those tests so thanks for the support!...but anyways, he told me that nowadays here (Spain) they dont preform as much Nissen surgeries as before and he doesnt recommend it to me. Im worried I might end up even worse after surgery. Ive heard about the Linx surgery and I think its a much better option plus you can have it out if it doesnt work but its from a private company in London and dont have yet the money for it. Im thinking about taking the risk of saving up for it so that next year I can have it, its a complicated situation.

The way I see it is get the Nissen and have a 50/50 chance of getting worse or have the Linx after one years savings which I read and think that it will give me better results. But maybe waiting one year means significant damage for my lungs.

Dont know what to do, Ill probably go and visit my specialist.
Thanks Dencha!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/26/2011 12:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jeronimo,
Actually, that's not true. Nissen remains the gold standard for treating reflux. The LINX is not as successful. Actually there are others here who have had it and will be getting a Nissen. Of course, there is some success, and you could be in that percentile, but it's not as likely as Nissen to do the job.

Here's a link from a medical center in the US:

www.umm.edu/general_surgery/nissen_fundo.htm

If you scroll to the bottom it tells you:

What are the success rates for this surgery/procedure?

"The success rate for the minimally invasive surgery is 90 to 95 percent for patients who have the typical symptoms of GERD, such as heartburn, regurgitation, or belching. For those whose with less typical symptoms, including hoarseness and chronic cough, the surgery is about 70 to 80 percent effective at relieving their symptoms."

Yours would be the 70-80%, since asthma is an atypical GERD condition.

The #1 most important thing you can do to ensure that your Nissen surgery is successful is to find a surgeon who has done 300+ to 1000 or more surgeries. This surgery (done laproscopically) has a great success rate with experienced surgeons, but some fine surgeons who aren't as experienced can cause a LOT of problems.

The first thing, though, would be to have the tests to find out if your problem is actually caused by reflux. Otherwise the surgery (either LINX or Nissen) is unnecessary and can certainly cause you some problems.

You need to find the surgeon in your area who has done the most Nissen surgeries. In my city there is one they call "the surgeon who does all the Nissens". That would be the one to do it.

Now that it has become a laproscopic surgery, it has narrowed down the number of surgeons doing the procedure, which is a good thing, since it is an art form.

Since the advent of PPIs, the number of Nissen surgeries has plummeted. Before PPI's it was the only way to improve reflux symptoms. They don't do many surgeries now, because most people respond well to PPI's and it is not necessary.

If you find a good surgeon and he does all the correct testing, he will not touch you unless you are a good candidate for the surgery. The testing is critical, though, so now's the time to learn some relaxation techniques and figure out a way you can get through them. You can do it.

Good luck with your decision. Be sure that you make it intelligently. Do lots of reading and find the right docs.

Best wishes!
Denise

Jeronimo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/26/2011 3:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, I totally understand the importance of a manometry and a 24 phmetry. When I do them, if they tell me that my LES is OK I would literally laugh to death. Haha. I think its impossible to say that my LES works just fine, so thats why Im already viewing my self operated soon and deciding on procedures.

The bad thing about Nissen is that its nos really reversible...I mean, Ive read that they can reverse it but your stomach will never be the same and could cause problems. Thats why Ive been looking up the Linx, I can have it taken out with no problems. Will keep researching even more on Nissen.
Anyways, I hope they keep investigating to give a 100% perfect solution (my dream) to GERD. Ive even read about a microchip device to be implanted into the LES to make it work naturally again, theyre working on it:

www.azcentral.com/business/news/articles/2010/11/24/20101124biz-endostim1124.html

I think the best would be to see my specialist and commit on doing the manometry and 24 phmetry.

THANKS for the support, at least people on this forum know how regurgitation can make your life very unpleasent!!

Post Edited (Jeronimo) : 5/26/2011 3:08:28 PM (GMT-6)


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 5/26/2011 3:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Jeronimo,
I wasn't a fan of the manometry either. I had to focus my mind on my hands and go sort of zen. I focused on my breathing and forced myself to relax. It was tough, but I managed to get through it. I believe you can do it. Just keep telling yourself "just a little longer. I can do it."
Joy

Jeronimo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/26/2011 5:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks couchtater!

That might be a good idea...focusing on something so much and so relaxed that everything else just doesnt seem to affect you, Ill keep it in mind!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/26/2011 7:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jeronimo,
Nobody wants to take the manometry. It's not fun. However, I'm confident that if you want the information it provides badly enough, you'll find a way to get through it. The important thing is to practice relaxation exercises before you go for the test, and focus on that strategy while the manometry is being performed. You can do it!

The pacemaker-type device sounds interesting. Unfortunately, by the time they find out if it really works even you will be too old to benefit. If your lungs are truly being effected by acid, you won't want to wait the time it takes to figure it out! Hopefully some future GERD patient will benefit from that technology.

Actually the TIF and LINX procedures are also very new and the jury is out regarding their effectiveness and longevity. Nissen is not a perfect answer either. Those yet to be born should be very happy that scientists, doctors, and patients are participating in all of these procedures. Hopefully they will find the perfect answer for them.

But this is now. And now we have to deal with the research that is out there and determine which of the procedures that are being done are the best for us.

Good luck getting to the bottom of your problem. To be sure, we do know how difficult it is to live with reflux. Joy and I both had asthma that was made much worse by reflux. We do understand.

Take care,
Denise

Jeronimo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/27/2011 6:24 AM (GMT -6)   
I have the hopes that in less than 10-15 years there will be a significant improvement in surgical options in any medical field because of advances with nanotechnology.

But yes, I understand that waiting for other options can do me more harm than good. Lets be positive and hope that those who had the Nissen (I might be one, dont know until I have the tests) can have the new technologies implanted in the future, that would be great!!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/27/2011 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jeronimo,
Now there's a possibility. I'm hoping that they make great strides and come up with something that is rock-solid, no-fail. It's just that lots of people will need to have the devices implanted and live with them for at least ten years before they can make a decision as to whether they are a good option.

I wish you all the best in finding a good solution to your problems. I know what it's like to be just where you are. Actually, my lungs deteriorated badly over the last four years before I finally succumbed to the Nissen. I had a bad lung infection when I had the surgery, and they didn't wait simply because it was a Catch 22...until the surgery was done it wasn't likely my lungs would clear up.

Although my symptoms were atypical, the Nissen definitely helped me find health again. I still have bad allergies, so can get into some allergy induced coughing, but it's NOTHING like it was before surgery.

Again, glad you've joined our forum, and be sure to keep us posted on your progress. If you decide to go forward with those dreaded tests, be sure to come to us for suggestions and support. We've all experienced them, so we can be your cheerleaders! yeah yeah yeah

Have a great day,
Denise
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