Posted 5/9/2012 2:46 AM (GMT -7)
Welcome to HealingWell :) We're glad to meet you and hope we can help you.
Your symptoms do sound like GERD (possibly LPR) to me. I myself have "classic" GERD (symptoms only in my stomach and chest) but I do occasionally have the feeling that something is stuck in my throat, so that really stands out to me.
Here is the 5-cent tour (I apologize if you know all of this already).
Our tummies come equipped with a valve at the top of them to prevent food (and the powerful stomach acids) from coming back up into the esophagus. When this valve - called the lower esophageal sphincter or LES - fails to do its job, we get symptoms like heartburn, chest pressure, nausea, etc. These "classic" symptoms are called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, aka GERD or acid reflux disease. Sometimes, the symptoms are felt higher (in the throat) and is then called Laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR (because of the area it affects).
So that's the lowdown on the condition. Both can be caused by a myriad of underlying reasons (see a fabulous post about these causes and their treatments here: https://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45&m=2405744).
Now, doctors will do a few things. They may suggest lifestyle changes (more on that later) or will probably prescribe one of two classes of drugs. One are Proton-Pump Inhibitors (called PPI's for short) or H2 receptor antagonists (called H2's). Both drugs attempt to lower the acid production in the stomach in order to minimize splashback into the esophagus and eliminate symptoms. They work well for most, just a bit for others, and don't work at all for some. Some examples of PPI's are Nexium, Somac, and Prilosec. Zantac is a common H2. Something to supplement these drugs are your normal antacids - Tums, Gaviscon, Carafate. There are also a lot of herbal and naturopathic rememdies (like slippery elm and manuka honey) but I can't speak too knowledgeably about them because I don't personally use them, but there are loads of posts here about them.
For most of us, lifestyle changes are essential. Here is a list of common foods to avoid, but I cannot stress enough that everyone is different and you will probably find your own triggers through trial and error:
-soda, tea, coffee
-garlic and onions
-spicy foods (curries, peppers, etc)
-spicy spices like paprika and chili powder
Another way to help yourself is through lifestyle changes. You can start by:
-avoiding laying down for 3-5 hours after eating
-raising the head of your bed 6-8"
-eating smaller portions
-if you are overweight, lose it (GERD can be exacerbated by excessive weight)
-don't wear clothes that cut into your stomach
Anxiety can be a large and contributing factor. Have you tried something like Yoga to get you through the hard times? I find that the deep breathing helps quite a bit.
Feel free to ask questions and also use the "Search" box in the upper right hand corner of the page if you'd like to know any more information.
Again, welcome to HealingWell.