Exercise Induced Reflux?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 186
   Posted 1/22/2013 6:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been diagnosed with GERD for 4 years now. I have had certain symptoms for as long as I can remember, but I did want to mention one to this forum. I have seen some 40 doctors over the last couple years, and all of them seem to be baffled by it. I have reflux and I have a breathing problem. When I ask a GI what's causing the problem, his first thought is that a breathing problem must be asthma. However, his response is a recommendation to see another doctor. When I ask an ENT what's causing the problem, the response is again, probably asthma, but to see a different doctor. When I see a lung doctor, he makes it very clear that I do not have asthma, and that he did not know what the problem actually was.

After running around for several months, well over a year now, I go back to my GIs and they say there is a possibility of my reflux causing my breathing problem and the conversation ends there. That's where my problem is; like many people on this forum, I am on maximum dosage of medication with no help, and I have not considered surgery up until now as I just turned 18 in November.

Any amount of exercise sets off my breathing problem. I used to define it as a feeling in my throat that is not as much of a pain as an instinct to stop what I'm doing because I am choking. Choking is very different from pain in the sense that pain the brain's way of saying something is wrong, in a suggestive way of saying something should be done about it, but it is mostly a suggestion. Choking is more than a suggestion. When you get the message that you are choking, your brain steps in and makes you stop what your doing. Fighting through this feeling is hard because it is a lot harder to fight this instinct that I'm choking than it is to fight a little (or a lot) of pain.

I have had a 24 hour pH probe, and the results showed that I indeed have reflux. I also decided to do a little running, instantly getting acid up my throat, and even some in my mouth. The probe showed that I indeed have a terrible case of "exercise induced reflux", of which there is no official term. This has officially been confirmed, but the treatment my doctor prescribed did not change: max dose of PPI, which I have been on for several years now.

I am sure that there are other people that have this problem, whether or not you get acid in your mouth every time you climb a staircase. If there is any other way to get help from PPIs, there must be at least one medication based around exercising times and not meal times. I personally experience reflux pains 24/7 and feel no difference before, during, or after meal times, where as I can instantly feel a different while I exercise, and for the following hours, sometimes even days. Does anyone else experience reflux like this?

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/1/2014 1:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Bud, I hope things are going better for your EoE. It is tough to see someone as young as you having to deal with this. I was diagnosed in Nov 2013 and am still fighting to find treatment that will provide relief. I know this is quite a while after you made this post, but I am researching possible treatment options and stumbled across your post. Have you heard of Nissen fundoplication? If not Wiki it and discuss it with your doctor. Exercise and weightlifting was a very big part of my life prior to having these issues and until I get this until control I am completely incapable. Not for the same reasons as you but rather due to failure to thrive. You are too young to not be able to workout.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 186
   Posted 3/2/2014 11:34 PM (GMT -6)   
This post happened a while ago. I still continue to have this problem, but I think I have gotten better at pushing through it or finding types of exercise that do not depend on breathing as much. I ended up having a nissen fundoplication two and a half months ago, but not by the recommendation of my doctor. I had to beg my doctor to consider me as a candidate for surgery, mostly because doctors don't approve patients under 18 often since young bodies tend to "outgrow" a nissen faster than adult bodies. You can see my nissen recovery log on one of the first pages of this forum since I have been updating it routinely.

The surgery completely stopped my heartburn, but my surgeon literally told me that he was stunned by the fact that the outside of my esophagus was just as inflamed as the inside. So the acid is contained, but the pain is still there and will be for as long as my esophagus is coated in scar tissue. Exercise still brings the exact same burning/choking feeling it always has, which is frustrating. Nothing I can do about, so I will continue to speed skate and go biking and do everything I want to do until I choke.
Right Temporal Lobectomy 4/5/12
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication 12/17/13

Diagnosed with GERD, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and Epilepsy.
Studying biomedical engineering to research a better fix to at least one of them.
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