I have GERD (docs originally thought Epiglotitis) - HELP!

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/4/2012 4:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I began having "throat" issues (really painful swallowing - even hurt to swallow WATER!) back in September. Docs originally thought it was Epiglotitis as they did x-rays on my throat (felt like I was being choked) and said it was swollen/englarged. I then had several x-rays over a course of 2 months and all the x-rays showed the same so they finally called in two different ENT docs. I was scoped about 4 times and they all told me that it's not Epiglotitis, that I may just have a "large" one and maybe SLIGHT swelling but extremely minimal and there was nothing of concern/no infection/etc. They also said Epiglotitis would get worse quite quickly, whereas my symptoms have been over the course of, well...4 months now, and they often come and go - but when the swallowing pain is there, it's BAD. It, however, does not feel like a sore throat when one has a cold. Not that raw/scratchy feeling. Just painful and is feels like a lump in throat when I swallow.

One ENT then sent me to a Gastro specialist and he did a test called a Barium Swallow. It showed that I have mild to moderate acid reflux that goes to mid-esophogus level.

I guess my question is, can acid reflux BE this painful? Also, can acid reflux only hurt ONE side of throat? It used to jump from side to side but is now always just the right side that bothers me. My throat also does weird burping noises. Could it be Epiglotitis that keeps being overlooked? I also have anxiety, so some of the doctors I have seen keep using "anxiety" as an excuse more or less, but I know the difference between my anxiety and this pain I'm feeling. The pain itself overwhelms me and I worry about it quite a bit.

I did try Nexium but had an allergic reaction to that so I am currently not on any medication.

Post Edited (Canaduh) : 1/4/2012 2:28:33 PM (GMT-7)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/4/2012 4:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I am sorry to read your having so much pain.

Epiglottitis is inflammation of the tissue that covers the trachea (windpipe). It is a life-threatening disorder and no I do not think it is being overlooked. A hospital stay is needed, usually in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Yes you can have pain on only one side of your throat as I have had this. 

Wondering if you have tried any life style changes in dealing with this new dx of GERD. Do take the time to read through our threads and you will find much info from the members re what has helped them or what has not helped them as well.

Again a warm welcome and thank you for the great introduction.



Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.


"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/4/2012 4:57 PM (GMT -6)   
So if two different docs say it ISN'T epiglotitis (even though my x-rays are questionable) after doing scopes, then it probably isn't, right?

I'm just really worried and my mind keeps going back to that now even though I've been told several times that that's NOT what it is, that I just have a "larger" epiglotis...

BUT I do know the barium swallow test did say mild to moderate acid reflux, and my throat on the same side as the pain makes burping noises (which is apaprently a part of acid reflux??).

Have you had GERD or epiglotitis? Your post only made me more worried and confused. :(

Also, can stress make GERD symptoms worse? I find it seems to act up MORE after I've gone through stressful things. IE: stress with family.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 1/4/2012 5:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Canaduh,

Yes, stress can certainly make GERD symptoms worse. If you are familiar with ways to cope with your anxiety, they can be a great relief. Also, deep breathing and Yoga have helped some of our members. HealingWell also has an Anxiety forum if you'd like further advice :)

In my own humble opinion, if two different doctors told you that it's not epiglottitis, it's most likely not. What you have described sounds symptomatic of acid reflux.

Here are some suggested things to help acid reflux (GERD). These are the "Lifestyle Changes" that Kitt was referring to:

And here are some foods to avoid, as diet can play a large part:

What did your doctor suggest that you do? I know you're not on Nexium - are you allergic to all Proton Pump Inhibitors (drugs that try to stop excessive acid production in the stomach, also called PPI's)? Can you possibly take a histamine H2-receptor antagonist (commonly called H2's here) such as Zantac? There are also antacids, like Tums and Gaviscon?

I have classic GERD (my main symptom is heartburn), and I have found that lifestyle changes in addition to medication therapy has greatly alleviated my symptoms.

Keep us updated and feel free to ask questions :)

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/4/2012 5:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Ashley! I'm going to go through those links. I haven't tried anything other than Nexium and it gave me a rase all over my arms/hands, irritated my throat and made my tongue feel funny. Wound up having to go to the ER and took liquid Benadryl which eased the symptoms. I have a lot of medication allergies as it is, so trying to find something will be interesting. I have to follow up with my Gastro specialist who's back from holidays next week and will ask him about Tums/Gaviscon.

The one symptom I find I DON'T have is heartburn, it's only ever just been the uncomfortable feeling/painful swallowing/lump feeling in the right side of my throat. So annoying! And I DEFINITELY find stress indeed makes it act up more.

Thanks again, Ashley!
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