18 years old with GERD; when were you guys diagnosed?

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/9/2011 11:00 PM (GMT -6)   
So around three months ago I started experiencing really intense stomach aches/chest pains, frequent nausea, acid from my stomach visiting my throat, etc. I found out recently that I have GERD. Apart from the fact that I won't be able to go to parties with friends anymore(lol) there's not much I'm too upset about, though I'm sure I'll miss the occasional kit kat bar!

I'm surprised that I developed this at such a young age. Being young and diagnosed with this chronic condition I'm concerned for the future condition of my esophagus.

When were you guys diagnosed, and can anybody give me any advice/resources when it comes to diet? In a nutshell all my doctor told me was to keep taking the omeprezol and lay off spicy foods. I don't think he believes me when I tell him that literally everything I eat causes chest pain. This is something I experience daily.

Is it usual for me to still experience pain after one month on omeprezol/prilosec? I understand that I'm going to have to get used to a lot of changes, frequent pain being one of them perhaps, though I certainly hope I'll be able to not have to endure pain every day.


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 6/10/2011 8:21 AM (GMT -6)   

Youve been 3 months with it so with that I guess they havent done any tests on you, have they? Before jumping into a mentality that its forever you have to know why its happening. It could be the Helicobacter Pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach pains and can give some reflux problems. Or it could be a hiatal hernia where the upper part of the stomach goes through the diaphragm into the torax causing pains.

So if you continue having problems and pains you must get is checked out, do some tests.

I was diagnosed with GERD when I was 17, now Im 21 and Im worse. What started with GERD (heartburn mostly) transformed into silent LPR with occasional hearburns and breathing problems due to acid coming up. At first, I would take Lansoprazole and it would work perfectly, no more problems...gone! Then it started losing its effect so they gave me new PPIs. I went through all the PPIs up to Nexium. Nexium did work, Its more efficient BUT I had a side effect, It made me breathe worse.
They did an endoscopy and they found a small hiatal hernia but then they did a barium swallow and there was no hiatal hernia, so they told me that the barium was more accurate.
What I have to do know is the manometry and phmetry, I have to mentalize myself for it and then do it!

I was also suprised developing it at 17, it just sucks! And yes, I too have to miss out on social reunions with my friends, thats the worse part so I know how you feel.
Try to stay off all kinds of fats, fried stuff, spicy foods and all that. On the internet theres tons of information about food that you can eat, but you just have to try for yourself what doesnt harm you.

The omeprazole, it works reducing the acid that your stomach produces, it doesnt resolve pain problems.

So, get an endoscopy and a barium swallow to see how everything is working and then you might need a manometry (to check how the esophagus muscles are working) and a phmetry (how much acid goes up and down).

If you end up like me (hope not!) you can always get surgery. The most popular is the Nissen fundupliation but there are new procedures like the LINX device and so.

Post Edited (Jeronimo) : 6/10/2011 7:24:51 AM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 6/10/2011 10:51 AM (GMT -6)   
You may need a stronger PPI if you have no relief yet.
If I was you I'd get the testing done and find out if your LES is weak. If it's weak then surgery is the best option.

PPIs are like throwing water on a chemical fire. It will tamp it down but not put it out fully.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/10/2011 11:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you both for the replies and advice. I have an endoscopy scheduled next week and about 2 weeks ago I had a blood test done for H. Pylori, they said my results would come in the mail so I'm still waiting on that.

I had stomach and chest pains for about 2 weeks before I rushed myself to the hospital (this was three months ago). My chest was hurting so bad I thought that I was really unlucky and ended up having a heart attack or something. In addition to a cardiogram they had me swallow barium something (it was a white chalky liquid) and then took a series of chest x-rays. Is this the barium swallow you were referring to, Jeronimo?

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 6/10/2011 12:53 PM (GMT -6)   
That's it. They take xrays as you are placed in different positions. You also drink fizzy stuff and told not to burp.

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42499
   Posted 6/10/2011 1:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rangerdanger,

I just wanted to welcome you to HealingWell. I don't know a lot about gerd persay. But wanted to welcome you. You are amongst friends here who understand what you are going through. Kitt is the moderator of this forum and she is really cool and knows a lot about gerd.

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 6/10/2011 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, thats it, the barium swallow. They see how the liquid makes its way down, to see if theres anything wrong.

Now you just have to wait util they do the endoscopy, lets see what they pick up from it.

mock turtle
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 6/11/2011 12:00 PM (GMT -6)   

to respond to your earlier question about how old were we when we were first diagnosed?

i experienced gerd at a very early age...to varying degrees...going back to late teens early twenties
but it didnt get so bad that i couldnt deal with it... taking tums etc until i got older.
it got worse and worse until i was swallowing huge quantities of ant acids etc every day

then the lpr started, and i didnt know it for what it was

many trips to the doctors and many mis-diagnosis later,
(first the docs thought bacterial pneumonia, then asthma and then chest xrays to rule out lung cancer

of course the fear factor is sky high by then
and months later...waking up inhaling refluxate,
but then after a barium swallow and endoscope , i was diagnosed...incorrectly..... , with "gerd

but at least they were close....
i had to argue for 6 months that lpr was different that gerd, although related...they just didnt get it

so the short answer to your question is i was diagnosed about 40 years after first onset of symptoms

the most important things i did to help myself included sleeping with the head of my bed elevated at least 8 to 10 inches and eating small, small meals more often, loosing weight if you are overweight and staying upright after eating...dont eat within 3 hours of going to bed

i usually start out my night sleeping in a reclining chair tilted back to 45 degrees and then go to my bed in the middle of the night

if you cant incline your bed then at least buy a wedge shaped piece of foam that extends from your head at least down to your hips...propping up just your head with extra pillows does not work and can even make things worse!

( know what foods are "safe" and which ones promote reflux...avoid chocolate coffee alcohol and spearmint peppermint etc)

Post Edited (mock turtle) : 6/11/2011 11:09:21 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/11/2011 12:51 PM (GMT -6)   
getting by, Thank you for the welcome! : )

Mock turtle I'm sorry you had to wait so long for a diagnoses and real help, thank you for your advice. I've been propping my head up with pillows; I'm going to start looking for those wedge pillows I keep reading about on this forum.

I'm going to call my doctor on monday and ask if I can get a stronger/different prescription, for now I was thinking about taking a prilosec before I go to bed in addition to taking one upon waking. This is ridiculous; today I took the pill and waited 2 hours before I ate anything because I'm scared of the pain. I had 1 boiled egg and all hell broke loose. Honestly the only time I get relief is when I consume nothing at all! I'm trying to stick to the general rule of don't eat anything that might taste good...haha. Apparently even disgustingly bland food is not on my menu.

My blood tests came back negative for H. Pylori, and negative for gallstone issues. He said my liver function tests were "slightly abnormal", though this runs in my family (gerd on the other hand doesn't :P ). I'm trying not to stress over that unless the doctor tells me that I should.

So yeah. I'm just waiting for the endoscopy. I'll let you guys know how it goes, and thanks again to all of you for the advice/comfort.

Joan M
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2052
   Posted 6/11/2011 5:34 PM (GMT -6)   
one thing about the old GERD (mine is borderline, i got it when i was 50 ish). it is important to NOT EAT BEFORE BEDTIME. Give yourself as much time as possible before bedtime to NOT EAT. You can have some water if you are thirsty.

it is a super drag but very helpful with the mechanical end of GERD. when you are awake, gravity is helping you. when you lie down...it is not. also a good idea to get a reflux pillow. bed and bath store has them. They are thick on the one end and sort of slope down...put under mattress.

so long for now and best wishes

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 6/11/2011 6:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rangerdanger,
Welcome to Healing Well! It's a bummer that you already have to deal with GERD, but you've come to the right place.

One thing that came to me regarding pain upon eating. When I would have a flare-up of gastritis/esophagitis, I couldn't eat a spoonful of anything without pain. I remember one Thanksgiving when i tried to eat a spoonful of mashed potato and gravy, and immediately had severe pain.

I found at those times I could only tolerate the mildest and smoothest of foods. My favorite was egg custard...recipes abound on the internet.

Keep in mind that if your stomach is inflamed, when you eat rough things like raw veggies and fruits, popcorn, tough meats, etc. they will further irritate your stomach. When it is in the midst of digesting, your stomach mashes things through a muscular motion. If there are rough things in there, it will irritate further. In addition, if you have any irritation in your esophagus, the rough foods will irritate it further.

I don't know if that's what is happening, but to me it sounds like you've got inflammation, and although you're taking PPI's the irritation hasn't healed.

That's not to say that you don't need a stronger dose. I think you'll know better after your endoscopy.

If you can buy risers to raise the head of your bed (you put them under the legs at the head of the bed)...if you add some pieces of 2X6 boards under the risers you can add four more inches to the elevation, it would be helpful.

When you're standing up, gravity helps hold the acid in your stomach, but when you lie down, gravity no longer assists you.

Good luck in finding an answer. I hope you feel better soon.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 82
   Posted 6/12/2011 8:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I was also diagnosed with GERD and a hiatus hernia at the age of 18. I had my first endoscopy and they put me on 20mg Losec for a while. I'm now 31 and after years of trying several different PPIs and increasing the dosage they finally agreed to let me have surgery. It worked brilliantly and after 11 weeks I'm more or less normal again. I just wish they had done it sooner as the reflux was the most annoying thing I've ever had to cope with. I'm sure everyone here has had that horrible day when they forgot to take their meds before leaving the house. Ouch!
Anyway, good luck and if they can control it with meds then great. A lot of people get better after a few years on PPIs. If not you may have to make the choice of being on meds for the rest of your life or going for the surgery. I'd opt for the surgery every time but of course everyone is different. It's not impossible to cope with but at the end of the day only you can measure your own quality of life and what you can deal with.
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