Need help figuring out whats wrong with me?

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/9/2011 2:06 PM (GMT -6)   
When I was in the 5th grade (im 19 now), I had pneumonia or however you spell it, along with a relapse and was out of school for 3 months. When this was finally over, I felt like this resulted in an extremely high gag reflex feeling and it feels like my throat tightens up all of a sudden and my stomach feels nauseated . Every time I would get into a social situation, I would feel extremely nervous and have a gag-like feeling that I couldn't control. I went to multiple doctors and psychologist but they could find nothing wrong with me and assumed it was just social anxiety from not being at school for 3 months.

Fast forward 10 years later and I still have this same feeling, but now I am trying to really figure out whats wrong. So far, I've noticed that I get this extremely high gag reflex when I: do cardio or a workout of any sort, when im in new social situations that make me anxious/nervous, right after I eat any meal (which is why I think it might be GERD), and even when im singing to myself for fun, after 3 or 4 songs I start to feel it as well. Now I've tried to figure out what all of these have in common that might trigger it and im pretty sure it has to do with BREATHING. Singing, cardio, anxiousness, and being bloated are all heavily focused on the breathing aspect, and since this all started when I had pneumonia which im pretty sure is a breathing sickness thing, I'm thinking something may be wrong with my lungs or something similar? As for how I've been coping when I get this feeling: 7-UP, gum, mints, altoids, and cough drops seem to temporarily help (sometimes they dont).

If anyone has any idea if this is actually a disease, or its psychological, I'd really appreciate it thanks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 9/9/2011 2:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, I'm so sorry you've had to go through this for so long. I do think that you MAY be in the right place - extreme anxiety could be causing acid to come into your throat from time to time and making you gag.

I would definitely go back and see a doctor about it now that you're older. The fact that you've been dealing with this for so long speaks volumes about how resilient you are, but you may have a greater understanding of what's been happening to you and you may be able to better express to a doctor what's going on.

Again, I'm terribly sorry for the discomfort. I really hope it goes away soon for you. Until then, there are plenty of people here who are willing to answer questions and help you, so please feel free.

Take care,

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 9/9/2011 2:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Have you seen a gastroenterologist or a pulmacologist?
They will be able to tell more about this. Until then it's just a guessing game, because we're not doctors here- just support group. :)

mock turtle
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 9/9/2011 5:35 PM (GMT -6)   

sorry you are in pain. i used to get just to be terrified of public speaking and had some of the symptoms you describe.

it sounds to me like you have two things going on at once, and yes it seems part of your issue is psychological, but im no professional, so im just guessing

you mentioned that you get this "high" gag reflex... why not see a gastroenterologist as recommended by Joy , above. sometimes doctors recommend a simple office room procedures, like whats called trans nasal flexible scoping and this might tell if there is any damage up high from refluxing

what ever you do, i would see a specialist if you can

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/9/2011 7:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I suspect seeing a GI physician would be a very wise decision.  Yes, it is possible  you could have a social phobia............  A normal person never has to spend so much time worrying about criticisms or how other people might see or judge them.  But for those dealing with social phobia, they are almost always troubled and conscious on what other notice and feel about them.
Therapists are the best ones to seek help from by those who have a social phobia so this may be something you want to look into also. I have a dx of GAD and have found therapy to be very helpful.
We are here to support you so please make the Dr. appointments and remember to be your own best advocate.
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 119
   Posted 9/9/2011 8:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I can't add much more than what the others have suggested. Start with writing your symptoms down and seeing a Gastro.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 1604
   Posted 9/10/2011 6:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,

Sounds like you've already worked out that there's an emotional/anxiety element to your problem. However, that's not to say there's no physical base either - sometimes problems just bounce off each other and you're stuck with not knowing what's "chicken" and what's "egg".

Like the others say, it may be useful, or at least reassuring, to have your airway and oesophagus (food pipe) checked out. Just knowing there's nothing to see might reduce any anxiety you have.

The other common denominator may be your diaphragm - you might want to look into breathing exercises or yoga. I have found cranial osteopathy good for working on my upper back and diaphragm (though sadly she hasn't cured my reflux yet!).

You could also ask the docs whether it's possible you have any scar tissue from your pneumonia episode - especially if you also had pleurisy (just a thought).

Doctors tend to look at our health problems in a compartmentalised way (one bit of body at a time!) so sometimes it sadly falls to the patient to piece things together. Another option would be for you to ask to see a General Physician as they have knowledge of pulmonary and gastrointestinal problems; he/she could then refer you on to whoever they felt most appropriate. Keep knocking on doors - you'll gradually eliminate things and knowing what it isn't helps you move forward! Good luck!

New stuff: GERD. Interstitial Cystitis
Lifelong stuff: Food allergies, eczema, asthma

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted Yesterday 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
well I finally went to the doctor. im now on paroxetine for the anxiety which isnt supposed to kick in for 4-6 weeks. she also suspects that i do indeed have gerd but wants to try and attack the anxiety first, then when I go back in a few weeks to look more into the gerd. thanks for the support everyone.
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