Posted 11/14/2012 3:53 PM (GMT -7)
I am a 27 year old guy. As best I can remember, I did not have any problem with acid reflux/LPR/disphagyia/globus sensation, etc. until I first started interviewing for full-time jobs my Senior year in college, back in 2007. Back then, it wasn't a big deal for me. It would come and go, and several months after it had appeared, I was no longer bothered by it and stopped thinking about it for several years. Then, earlier this year, in April, it all came back. Symptoms vary as they do for most people, but at the top of the list are the globus sensation (feeling of something caught in throat), coated tongue (usually white, but often takes the color of whatever I've been eating or drinking), burning/sore throat and uncomfortable pressure / pain on my left side just below my ribcage (I suppose where my stomach meets my esophagus???).
Over the past 7 months, I have worked my hardest to figure out how to best handle the problem, because as I've read from others, it's such a sensitive area of the body and the quicker you heal it the better. Well, unfortunately, it's 7 months later and while perhaps it has come and gone, it's no better than on day one. While I'm still not quite sure what the exact diagnosis is (I'm still trying to get certain tests done), my symptoms match up very well with LPR, and especially the aerosolized/gaseous acid coming up into the throat, as described by others.
What I've Tried:
1. First off, I immediately and for the most part steadily, altered my diet. I have since gone gluten free, eat lean proteins, veggies, and drink lots of water. I would say that alcohol is the only obvious trigger that I still consume, and I try my best to do so in moderation.
2. I have tried several different PPIs (Dexilant, Prevacid, etc.). They always seem to help calm things down a bit for about a week or two, and then that effect goes away and they're next to useless.
3. I have tried different digestive enzymes and probiotics. Papaya enzymes didn't help. Lots of greek yogurt throughout the day didn't help. More recently I've started a stronger probiotic and it's only been a few days, but as far as I can tell, it's not helping anything.
4. Sleeping with the bed inclined... basically all the "easily google-able" suggestions'
Tests I've Had Done:
1. After PPIs didn't work for several weeks, I had an endoscopy performed, which other than villous blunting in the small intestine (I was diagnosed celiac this year), was "perfectly normal" I was told. I have copies of most of my results if anyone would like to see and compare (I've gotten anal about all this and started collecting my own results since at this point, all the gastro guys say surgery's my only option).
2. I've had a manometry and pH impedance test done. Normal. Normal pressure during swallowing liquids and solids. Demeester score of 1, with more non-acid episodes and acid episodes, and more upright than supine. Supine was 1 episode and it was tiny. This sounds just like non-acid upright reflux, right???
3. I've had a thyroid ultrasound which came back normal... the doc thought it might be a physical obstruction at first.
4. I had some kind of flexible scope laryngoscopy performed at an ENT's office recently as well. He said that while he could see the area was red and irritated, there were no visible folds, lesions or abnormalities, and so was hard to blame it on LPR from that test alone.
4. I've done several blood tests done on different occasions at the request of various doctors, and everything has come back normal. The exception here I would point out is Vitamin D deficiency (which I've since been working to address by taking 3,000 IUs daily) and my celiac diagnosis as earlier mentioned.
While there doesn't seem to be any perfectly accurate, yes or no, diagnostic test for LPR, I can't say for sure that it is what I have, but my symptoms match up perfectly. It seems to flare up after I eat almost regardless of what has been eaten. There are belches along with it, come chest tightness on occasion, the globus sensation, and the coated tongue. On the worst of occasions, I also get a shortness of breath that's perhaps my lungs getting irritated from all the acid (or Non-Acid???) material coming up. Some of the symptoms wax and wane, but I would say those that bother me the most and are there every single day are the feeling of something caught in my throat and the white coating towards the back of my tongue. It's gross stuff, but after months of dealing with it, I've gotten pretty comfortable talking about it.
Why I'm Writing:
Like most others in the forum, I started poring over the site back in April with high hopes of finding that quick fix that would get my life back to normal. As an otherwise relatively healthy (6'0", 155 lbs) younger guy, it often gets me down that I have to deal with this problem every single day of my life. There's no day I don't wake up, have a few burps, and start thinking about what kind of day my throat is going to let me have. I've gotten obsessed about what I eat, which at some point, becomes a contributor to the problem just because it creates stress which knowingly makes the problem worse. So yes, it's become somewhat of a vicious cycle. After trying different pills and sleeping methods and eating different diets, and trying to ignore it with no lasting results, I realized that sadly this was likely going to be a longer fight than I thought. While I'm still hoping that it won't be lifelong, I"m trying to keep myself sane so admitting that it might be is probably the healthiest choice at this point.
I'm writing because I'm fed up with the complacency of multiple (can't even count how many I've seen in the past year) doctors who will recommend you try some canned test that diagnoses one problem and if you're normal, then suddenly, you don't have a problem anymore in their eyes. And if you do, well then it's "you should explore surgery".
To sum up what is already a long note (thank you if you've read this long!), I'm writing to share my story. I'm writing so that I can talk with others who have a similar problem and we can share tips and tricks. I'm writing for advice from those that have conquered this problem. I'm writing so that I can start an LPR chain where questions can come in and get answered, and maybe a small group of us with similar symptoms can band together and keep each other updated to get through all this, as I know it can be kind of depressing at times.
I look forward to any helpful words that anyone has.