I'm glad I found this forum as it seems like a lively community with many people who've been through what I'm going through now.
I'm 29 and have suffered from reflux since I was about 18. Mostly I controlled it using over the counter antacids (rennies) which has mostly worked but recently I've found that I'm burping constantly and it's really annoying. Sometimes it's a full stomach belch but mostly it seems like I get air trapped in my throat and I have to push to expel it, it's a strange feeling, as if there's some kind of pocket of air in my lower esophagus. I strongly suspect I have a hiatus hernia, and was advised a year ago by a doctor that I probably do.
Recently the burping got to me and I started reading online and become very scared and paranoid that I had stomach cancer (my own fault for googling symptoms, you should never do this when there are 50 possible diagnoses for your symptoms :) so I went to my doctor, had a full blood panel run and they said it's definitely not cancer and is likely just functional dyspepsia and/or a hiatus hernia. They gave me 20mg omeprazole to take daily and said it'll probably calm it down but to be honest, I don't really like the idea of taking meds like this long-term. The reflux I was getting isn't really very severe, but the constant burping is very irritating and I have a constant sense of pressure and aches in my chest which feel like they're at the lower end of the esophagus (I can feel them twinging up into my tongue and jaw sometimes). At the moment I'm feeling a bit down, this problem is constantly on my mind and every 5 minutes I burp and I'm reminded that I'm not well. I'm working on getting fit and healthy but I strongly suspect that this is a physical herniation in the stomach/diaphragm and so isn't going to be fixed with lifestyle changes.
What I would like to know is, would it be worth considering a nissen fundoplication in my case, or are my symptoms too mild to warrant the risk? From what I've read it has a very high success rate and might completely relieve my symptoms. My main concern is that if I go on like I am now the problem is only going to get worse and I'm liable to be prone to Barretts esophagus (if I don't have it already) and ultimately potentially esophageal cancer. I've never smoked tobacco, I used to drink fairly frequently and smoked weed for years which I'm sure hasn't helped but I've quit everything now, I don't even drink coffee or eat spicy food but still the burping persists. The omeprazole has helped a little with the belching, but I still have this constant feeling of pressure and air pushing up into my throat which I can only assume is caused by the hiatus hernia.
I have an appointment with my doctor on monday and I'm pondering asking for an endoscopy to find out what's going on, see whether I really do have a hiatus hernia (although I'm not sure what else could be causing this) and perhaps consider surgery. I live in the UK and suspect my symptoms are probably too mild for the procedure to be done on the NHS but I can afford to go private if I wanted.
The thing that gets me down the most is the realisation that I've probably done this to myself with my unhealthy lifestyle, but hindsight is 20:20 as we all know. It's important to be grateful for what you do have though, at least I have all my limbs and can walk around and see, taste, smell etc. There are much worse things I could be suffering from.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.