Hello everyone, I'm 23 years old.
I have been reading posts from this forum for some time now. I am going to give you guys a quick rundown of what I've gone through with GERD for the past 6 years. I first experienced GERD symptoms when I was 17. I had the feeling that something was stuck in my throat and I couldn't "cough" it out. I also began experiencing the sensation that my throat was closing up. After seeing an ENT specialist, she explained to me that the acid coming up from stomach could be irritating my throat. This made sense and I was prescribed Ranitidine 150mg 2x per day. In terms of compliance at that age, I really only took one per day, if that. It helped a lot. I eventually did not get relief from just H2 blockers, so I began taking omeprazole 40mg 1x per day as well. After a couple months, I was able to be symptom free and eventually stopped my medications. about a year later, when I was 18, nearly 19 and in my freshman year at university, I began experiencing GERD symptoms again. I started taking protonix 40mg per day because the omeprazole stopped working. Around October 2011, my symptoms came back full force and the medication did not seem to be helping. I was having trouble breathing and getting in a full breath, and my GERD symptoms were occurring fairly often, even with medication. I had myself convinced that I had a hiatal hernia and went for my first endoscopy in December 2011. They said my esophagus was beautiful and I had no hiatal hernia. Shortly after that I began to feel better and continued on a once a morning regimen of protonix 40mg and 150mg of ranitidine. Fast forward to February 2013. At this point I am in my second semester of my graduate doctorate program. I was really stressed out before each exam, so I used food for comfort.
This finally hit a breaking point when my GERD came back with full force. I have not been better since. I have tried switching to Nexium 40mg and Ranitidine 150 2x per day. I found that my insurance will not cover Nexium twice per day so I began taking 40mg Nexium in the morning and Protonix 40mg before dinner with Ranitidine 2x per day at the same time as the PPIs. I have had some good days and some bad days but recently it has been really bad. My most prominent symptoms include pain in my chest area (not really burning, just pain in my chest) and sore throat. I also have pretty severe health anxiety which I doubt is helping me get better.
Some background on what I have tried and what I've done: I work out 3x per week (or at least I used to, up until this recent episode of events), I am definitely not overweight (BMI of about 22.5). I sleep with a GERD pillow. I wait 3 hours after I eat before lying down for the night (and I never screw this up). I also am very compliant with my medications. I never miss them. I recently tried adding a probiotic and that did not do much. I have also tried Gaviscon. The few things I have not tried include: DGL supplement, digestive enzymes. I also eat a VERY bland diet. I occasionally cheat by eating cheese (which may be considered a type of dairy one shouldn't eat) and vanilla ice cream. Other than that, I do not cheat. I never drink alcohol, I don't eat chocolate or caffeine, and never eat fried/spicy foods, and absolutely no tomato.
I am really at a loss here. I have literally done everything you are supposed to do according to the books. I have heartburn (really pain in my chest) after I eat, some trouble breathing (from what I assume is acid or bile going into my lungs), and then I get the painful (occasional) swallowing, and feeling like some sort of lump is in my throat. It seems like I have symptoms of both LPR and GERD.
I saw my gastroenterologist a few weeks ago and we have scheduled an endoscopy with Bravo. She has informed me that I may have "non-acidic" reflux. She says if the Bravo test comes up that I have non-acidic reflux, that I should go on amitriptyline. This will control the pain I get when I eat. This seems like a TERRIBLE idea and I hate that this is my only option. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do at this point. I also don't really have any "food stuck halfway down my esophagus" feeling yet.
Do any of you have any thoughts on this? My endoscopy is scheduled for Wednesday the 29th. I'm really scared they're going to find esophageal cancer, which I'm hoping isn't the case since my endoscopy 1.5 years ago was perfect.