New Member - Shortness of Breath - is this GERD or something else?

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/5/2013 4:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,
New guy here. I’ve done some lurking for the past few weeks and I was wondering if I could get some help with my situation…
about three months ago I started having these episodes, which included: shortness of breath, slight dizziness, and lightheadedness – like I couldn’t focus my eyes or something along those lines. I also had this uncomfortable feeling in my chest that was alleviated by expelling gas. One day it was pretty bad and I went to urgent care… the doctor diagnosed me with GERD and told me that the shortness of breath episodes were potentially laryngospasms and to see an ENT, cut out the spicy foods (I always used to eat spicy foods prior to this), eat smaller meals, and cut out the misc. common trigger foods for GERD. He also puts me on omeprazole 20mg once a day.
I take the omeprazole, change my diet, and start feeling a little better, but I still occasionally got these episodes, so I go to the ENT and he sees some redness in my vocal chords, but nothing that warrants further testing. He said to finish my omeprazole and to go back to my normal diet… he said it was possibly a fluke thing.
He was wrong. I tried going back to my normal foods and finished the omeprazole… I felt like crap.
So I make an appointment with the GI doctor, get an upper endoscopy: nothing too bad. Some redness and he said my sphincter was a little weak, and my biopsy came back negative. So next we do an emptying study. I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a nuclear isotope and they monitor my digestion rate with an ultrasound over the course of digestion – my rate is just slightly above normal, but again, nothing that is worrying them. Up next is a 24 hour PH study which I’ll be getting done hopefully soon.
Between these visits, I had gone to urgent care a few times and they didn’t/couldn’t really do anything. I went to the ER once, same thing.
The reason I still feel this is GERD related is because I get these “episodes” about 90% of the time either during or after I eat a meal. Sometimes I get them at “random”, but most of the time it’s when or after I eat. I don’t get the conventional heartburn sensation. The shortness of breath/breathing difficulty is the #1 symptom, followed by the lightheadedness/inability to focus. Sometimes I get that chest discomfort that gets alleviated by burping, but that’s rare. Also, sometimes I have good days where I can eat larger portions and have a little more flexibility in my diet, and other days I eat a tiny portion and feel like absolute crap.
My primary doctor said I could have acid reflux that is coming up and “splashing” on my bronchial tubes, causing a spasm. I have asthma, so this could be a compounding thing.
I’m currently taking omeprazole once a day and ranitidine twice a day. Also, I feel like I have excess mucus production, so sometimes I take guaifenesin, which I feel helps. I have a chronic throat clearing problem, but that has been going on even before these symptoms. I went to urgent care on Thanksgiving as was prescribed Qvar to take along with my Albuterol for my asthma, as the shortness of breath could be related to a pulmonary thing as well. I have an appointment with a pulmonary doctor next month for testing.
Has ANYONE dealt with or heard about GERD causing symptoms like these? As you can see, I’ve been to several doctors, done several tests, but nobody has found anything definitive. Should I go back to my ENT and see if he sees anything else? I heard the 24 hour ph study should be able to tell me if it’s my stomach acid, as I can eat some trigger foods and really get myself going.
Thank you all in advance.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/5/2013 4:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Any one done a cbc? I had all those symptoms due to being anemic.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 12/5/2013 4:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Yup. Every one of those symptoms are classic GERD. The throat clearing, mucus production, even the asthma, shortness of breath, redness of vocal cords. It's exactly the reason I went to a GI doctor and they found a hiatal hernia. I would definitely do a 24hr PH study and an endoscopy so you can see what's going on. Things like hiatal hernias are pretty common but you don't know till you have the tests done. I had chronic clearing of my throat and continuous coughing. I know my vocal cords are still healing too.

Welcome to healingwell. I'm sure you'll find everyone here is pretty knowledgeable and supportive.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/5/2013 5:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Craig,
Yes, I got a CBC done as well as other blood tests. Nothing stood out to the doctors:
Test Standard Range 3/20/2013 11/12/2013
Hct 33.5-47.0 % 45.2 46.2
MPV 0.0-15.0 fL 10.5 9.5
RBC 3.80-5.30 tril/L 5.17 5.39
RDW 12.0-15.0 % 13.3 13.1
WBC 4.80-11.80 bil/L 5.15 8.2
Plts 140-340 bil/L 195 207
MCV 77.0-96.0 fL 87.4 85.7
MCH 24.5-32 pg 31.3 30.2
MCHC 30.0-35.0 g/dL 35.8 35.3
Hgb 11.0-16.0 g/dL 16.2 16.3
Standard Range 11/12/2013 Units
ANC 2.2 - 9.2 6.3 bil/L
Neut % 45.0 - 85.0 76.8 %
Lymph % 7.0 - 40.0 12.7 %
Lymphs # 0.3 - 4.7 1 bil/L
Mono # 0.0 - 1.2 0.6 bil/L
Mono % 2.0 - 10.0 7.1 %
Eosin # 0.0 - 0.8 0.3 bil/L
Eosin % 0.0 - 6.5 3.3 %
Baso # 0.0 - 0.5 0 bil/L
Baso % 0.0 - 1.2 0.1 %
Test Range 11/12/2013
Liapse 10.0-45.0 u/L 14
Amylase 20-90 u/L 39
TSH .7-3.8 uUi/mL 1.14
H. Pylori Ab IgG

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/5/2013 5:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Diaas2,

Unfortunately I've already had an upper endoscopy done with no definitive findings by the doctor or biopsy. He didn't find a hiatal hernia either. Just some slight redness.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 193
   Posted 12/7/2013 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Adruiz, welcome to HealingWell :-)
You have my sympathy. I've had a lot of the same symptoms your describe and I know it's not easy. I never had shortness of breath before I got Gerd in May of this year and have been prescribed Ventolin which I only use when absolutely necessary as it makes my heart palpitate and I feel really jittery for a couple of hours after using it. I had an endoscopy which shows I have a small hernia. Had an ultrasound scan to check bile ducts and that was fine. I also had a Ph & Manometry test which to my amazement was normal. I have no had a barium swallow and would be interested in seeing what that might come up with.

Despite my "normal" PH score the consultant did refer me on to a surgeon for assessment, maybe because he doesn't know what else to do for me.

I am also thinking of asking my doctor to refer me to an ENT specialist.

Keep posting and let us know how you get on and if you do the ph/manometry test it would be interesting to know what your results are.

Take care now.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/8/2013 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   

I'll be having the 24 hour ph test this Thursday. I'm off omeprazole and I surprisingly haven't had an episode (haven't taken it since Thursday), but I'm still on ranitidine. My primary doctor also wrote me a referral for a series of pulmonary tests, so we'll see how that goes. I'll keep everyone posted.


New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/9/2013 9:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Just found out about TIF procedure

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/13/2013 12:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Had the 24 hour study done... now here's an interesting way things unfolded:

One week before I had the study done, I got off omeprazole... I was having episodes just days earlier, and after that, not a single episode...

Three days before the study, I got off the ranitidine... still not a single episode

The day before the study, I ate two meals that would definitely trigger a "GERD" episode... NOTHING!!!

The day of the study, I ate like a slob - tons of trigger foods... NOTHING ALL DAY!!!

30 minutes after I got the tube taken out... SHORTNESS OF BREATH and the normal "episode" feelings... are you kidding me?!?!?!
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