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misskm
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/17/2011 7:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I read an old post on here from a guy who had almost the exact same situation as me - but it was written in 2008 and there didn't seem to be any resolution, so I thought I would post my own info.

I picked up some kind of virus in 2005 when I lived in Japan. The doctors in Japan thought it was just gastritis, so they prescribed an antacid for a few months until I moved back to Australia. When I came back, I had a gastroscopy, a colonoscopy and was treated for giardia with flagyll. I also had blood tests and a fecal sample taken but nothing showed up. I experienced a couple of years of feeling 'off'. This included variable digestion, nausea, dizziness and intolerances to cow's milk, caffeine and alcohol.

Eventually I felt mostly better, but still had to avoid milk, caffeine and alcohol. But every few months I would have some sort of relapse. I always felt that it was related to my digestion, but I didn't do much other than take acidophilus and try eating healthier for a while. Occasionally I would go to the doctor but no one had any suggestions.

This year I have noticed a few distinct episodes almost every two months on the dot. They start with a heavy feeling in my chest, which then progresses to a kind of breathlessness and a feeling of unreality. I know some sort of anxiety attack is happening at the same time, but there seems to be no trigger. Then I can't eat much for a few days and I feel tired and weird. This last time didn't seem to go away, and it was accompanied by quite bad chest pain, so I went to the doctor who did another whole bunch of tests plus put me on a ten day course of flagyll again. I think I felt worse (probably because it disrupted the little balance I had left in my gut).

The doctor couldn't find anything wrong, so I went to the naturopath who gave me some ginger powder that is supposed to help with digestion, and some herbs. I also take acidophilus and slippery elm after a meal. The slippery elm seems to help for a short while, but I still get a lot of referred pain in my upper chest like a stitch.

After every meal I feel tired and breathless, and then I start to almost feel pannicky. I'm not normally an anxious person, but I do tend to worry about my health a lot. I've also developed a fear of flying since I returned from Japan, and I just got back from an overseas trip with four flights in ten days, which I'm sure didn't help my anxiety. Funnily enough, I felt mostly normal while I was away, but as soon as I got back, I seemed to revert to how I was before. I don't know if this was the diet, weather, environment, or just taking it extra easy (I had slippery elm and gaviscon a lot to be on the safe side because I didn't want to get sick over there).

I just don't know what to do. I know I have some sort of anxiety that probably needs dealing with, but I kind of feel like it's a symptom of my illness rather than the cause, and that if I can get my digestive system sorted out, I won't be anxious anymore.

I studied naturopathy for a couple of years and have a great book on nutritional medicine, but I'm not really sure which direction to go in. Do I eat lots of alkaline foods? Or do I take apple cider vinegar before meals to help increase the acid in my stomach for digestion? There's so much conflicting information out there. I don't mind taking some sort of supplement every day but I don't want to take something that could cause more damage in the long run.

I'm sick of feeling fuzzy headed and like my eyes can't quite focus on things at times. And wondering if what I'm eating is going to make me feel bad. I can't find any consistent patterns, although eating sugar does make it worse. I'm not diabetic, I don't have any traditional allergies, I don't seem to have a gluten or wheat intolerance or any of the other mainstream things out there. I also had my heart checked and it's fine. I think I just need to get my gut back on track, but I don't know how.

Thanks for reading my post :)

bcfromfl
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 12/17/2011 8:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi misskm --

Welcome to the forum!

Sorry to hear of your longstanding difficulties. I agree with you -- it does sound like you have some anxiety. Is it possible that a release of adrenaline could be the heaviness in your chest you noted? There were times when I used to perform that adrenaline made me very uncomfortable, and was not welcome!

I'm not really certain that I read in your post any of the typical symptoms of GERD. In my case, the LPR does cause headaches and "fuzzy-headedness", but I also have dysphagia (swelling of the throat/esophagus), hoarseness, asthmatic symptoms, etc.

You could investigate this further on your own by adopting some behavior and diet modifications, and see if that helps. Most folks who have had GERD for any length of time don't eat several hours before bed, sleep on a wedge or inclined bed (don't use pillows!), and avoid certain trigger foods. Are you noticing a sour taste in your mouth, or burning in your throat, when you wake in the morning?

Keep checking in, and let us know how you're doing!

Best wishes.

-Bruce

misskm
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/17/2011 8:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Bruce...

I don't feel like I have typical heartburn. I definitely had a lot of it during pregnancy so I know what it's supposed to feel like. This is more like chest pain or high up stitch pain. And if I eat sugar, the pipe all the way down to my stomach feels funny - like I've gotten some food stuck halfway or something. My stomach often churns like it feels acidy, but I don't usually feel it in my throat.

It's just that I feel weird after every meal - the only guaranteed thing to make me feel better is a boiled potato. I guess I'll have to experiment more. In the new year, I'm going to maybe get some counselling and also see a doctor in my area who specialises in gastrointestinal diseases and uses traditional and holistic medicine together.

I don't understand the panic attacks because they don't usually start with any trigger. I'm usually having a really good week and not particularly stressed out with work or life. But I wonder if perhaps I might have indulged in too many cakes and sweets leading up to it, which might be a trigger?

I always feel great in the mornings when I first wake up - especially if I haven't had a big dinner the night before. I always feel worst in the evenings around 6.30pm. That's usually just before dinner. I also often feel like my stomach is empty even when it isn't.

Anyway, thanks for replying. I appreciate just having someone listen to me :)

bcfromfl
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 12/17/2011 8:48 PM (GMT -6)   
One other possibility...if you ever have another endoscopy, make sure your doctor takes biopsies for eosinophilic esophagitis. The symptoms of even moderate eosinophil counts can mimic GERD. The generally-accepted cause for eosinophilic esophagitis is food allergy (sugar-candida connection?), but the eosinophils -- as in my case -- are a result of the irritation from reflux.

Just a thought...

-Bruce

mudmagnetmum
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 1604
   Posted 12/18/2011 7:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Misskm, welcome to our forum. Bruce has given you some good guidance already - Healingwell also has an anxiety forum; perhaps it might help to chat to others on there about how their anxiety interracts with stomach issues?

I've studied natural medicine too (I'm not a practitioner any more, but I did train as a nutritional therapist). One thing came to mind, which might be worth trying for anxiety, and that's choline and inositol. They tend to be used in combination with B vitamins, but you could try a supplement of them and see what happens. St John's wort is also good for anxiety I think - but it does interact with drugs and medications, so you can't really take it along side any prescription drugs or the contraceptive pill (as it reduces the potency).

The other thing you could do is to keep a food and symptom diary - that way you may pick up some triggers which cause reactions to occur during the 24 hours or so following exposure.

Keep chipping away at things and you'll get some answers!

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

misskm
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/19/2011 4:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks MMM - I had a pretty good day today - almost no symptoms until the evening. So I think I'm gradually figuring out what foods are fine and what seems to be a trigger.

It seems to be a fairly quick reaction when I eat - usually within an hour - so I can get fairly accurate information. It's just hard because there's not a lot that's guaranteed to be OK. I don't want to live on potatoes and coconut water! :) I did find while I was in Thailand I ate a lot of rice and noodles, and not too many heavy carbs (but then I still had pizza a couple of times, and crackers) - and I felt mostly good. So maybe it's stuff like pasta and heavier Western foods that causes a problem. A food diary does seem like a good idea.

I've just started taking some naturopathic herbs that have a small amount of St John's Wort and some other stuff in them. But I'm looking at getting pregnant again soon so might have to ask if what I'm taking is suitable. I'm sure the liquid is alcohol, so it's probably not a good idea to take them at all.

But thank you for the suggestion to check out the anxiety section, and the supplements. Just having other people out there who listen is very reassuring.
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