Just how sick can Gerd/Reflux or Gastritis cause you to be?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1979
   Posted 8/25/2014 4:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I was diagnosed with Crohn's many years ago.  A couple of years after surgery I started to have Reflux and heartburn problems.  My GI put me on an acid inhibitor (Prevacid is the main one),  I also had heart tests run and they seemed to be okay.  It's not everyday that I get the burning in my esophagus, but when I do, it's awful. 
Yesterday, I had a tomato sandwich and was throwing up this morning, but not stomach contents, but watery bile.   Sometimes I get a splash of mucous backing up in my throat, my throat looks red most of the time.  Sometimes my voice is weak, does anyone get that?  I always thought it was from a lowered immune system, now I'm not so sure.   I also get a high pulse when I am experiencing the burning in my esophagus.  I read that it isn't necessarily palpitations but the spasming of the esophagus that can make it seem like palpitations.  Usually only lasts a minute or so, but frightening nevertheless. The doctors never were able to find out for sure what causes it, but were pointing at the heartburn.  At times, I  also have a constant pain that can last several hours in the right under rib area or towards the mid, that radiates to my back.  Could that be gastritis?   I did have an ulcer before.  Can they come back?
Sorry, if this covers a little too much, but I sure would like to hear from others who feel really sick as a result of GERD.   

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 8/26/2014 7:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi dorri.

If you count your pulse over 100 it isn't just esophageal spasms. The spasms or reflux can cause your pulse to rise though.

You're a veteran, so I'm not go into detail. Use the search box to find many, many threads on keeping a food journal, cardio-esophageal reflex, how the vagus nerve connects everything, food allergies, food triggers.

Even your lower gut can be triggering some of your symptoms. Once when I developed an infection in a diverticulum (which didn't have any symptoms at the time) I got a really bad tachycardia event and needed cardioversion to stop it. Next day the gut pain hit and I was in for emergency colon surgery.

It took me years to figure out that my brief tachycardia events were caused by foods containing my allergen. I thought I was just having gas in my stomach. Burping relieved the the symptoms. I found out later I was doing "Valsalva maneuvers" trying to get the burps up. Don't let this go! I did for years and ended up with a heart attack. The tach got bad enough to trigger my coronary arteries to spasm, eventually leading up to a plaque rupture which becomes a heart attack.

At the time of my heart attack I had high familial cholesterol, hence the plaque. I've gotten my cholesterol way down to perfect now, and I can even feel the difference! This stuff is reversible! My secret was getting off bread. The liver takes the carbs and turns it into cholesterol.

Linda Sue
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 459
   Posted 8/26/2014 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi dorri,
I have been experiencing ALL the nasty symptoms you describe. You are NOT alone. I've had to give up my beloved fresh Michigan tomatoes as the acid is just not worth the agony. What a shame.

I have contributed to posts all over the GERD section and am seriously considering surgery to correct the root problem. Nothing else has worked for the past 6 years. I have the weak voice all the time and I feel ill all the time, as well. What a horrible way to live, isn't it?

There are so many of us suffering and I wish I could offer something better than my own bad news, but hang in there ... we all sympathize with your pain and I hope you can find help on these boards.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1979
   Posted 8/26/2014 9:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you both for being helpful. Sometimes just sharing and knowing others are going through the same thing helps a lot. I needed to hear from others to dispell my thoughts on it, thinking maybe I was just over reacting and being a baby about it, but I felt really sick the other day and a good deal of it was from the Gerd.

During these palp attacks I checked my blood pressure, both are normal. My cholesterol test is low normal. I also had an Eco done and the doctor said it was alright. My EKG shows a slight enlargement of the left ventricle but doctors weren't concerned about it because it was a small enlargement.. My GI did say that some get palpitations if there is too much pressure from the intestines below. Whether that be from pressure on the organ itself or from anxiety, he wasn't clear on that?

As for finding the allergen, that will prove to be more difficult? With my prior history, I react to most foods at given times. Oh, that little tomato tasted so good, and it was the low acid type I even remove the skin so it can be easily digested. Sometimes I can get away with eating tomato, provided I don't already have Gerd symptoms brewing at the time.
My Personal Triggers:
Anything too greasy, deepfried.
All hot spices
Ginger gives me heartburn instead of helping.
Oranges, lemons.
mustard (sometimes)

I'm sure there is more but that's all I can think of right now

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 8/26/2014 1:02 PM (GMT -6)   
How high is the actual heart rate? Palpitations are something else altogether. Blood pressure should be low if you have high heart rate.

You do have some specific categories.

Grease can indicate gallbladder problem.

Chocolate, hot spices, vinegar, ginger, mustard, pickles all contain sulfites. Do you have any trouble with gelatin or pork or maple syrup or artificial sweeteners or corn starch? Quantity makes a big difference if you have this intolerance.

Oranges and lemons, if it is the actual fruit and not the bottled juice which is sulfited, can indicate another group of intolerances.

The tomato sandwich - bread is horribly preserved these days. That's why it can stay on the counter for weeks on end. "Dough conditioner" especially in pizza crust is often sulfite. Was there any mayo? Anything else on it? I can't eat a hamburger, not because of the meat, but the condiments trigger my reactions. Bread is a whole new allergy. I've recently become wheat intolerant - not celiac, although that can start in adults too. I'm fine with just a nice tomato.

So, this is why you keep the food journal. It has to be complete too! Include drinks, especially sodas, medicines, snacks. Then record reactions especially a half hour to an hour later. Some people do get reactions up to 2 days later - migraines especially.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1979
   Posted 8/26/2014 11:34 PM (GMT -6)   
My pulse sometimes goes up to 135 or more, but like I said it only lasts for a minute or so, but is alarming just the same. Blood pressure is low normal with S being around a 100-115 or even in the 90's, D being in the 60's-70's. I tend to normally have lower BP with losing a lot of fluids and dehydration. My normal pulse is around 75 or so.
I can't eat grease, it runs right through me. I can't eat pork, and I can't eat maple syrups, it makes me sick.

I've tried gluten free bread and products, but it still didn't help the diarrhea problem I was hoping to address, but I never paid much attention what was happening to the Reflux during the time? I don't get reflux/Gerd daily but usually can tell it's coming on when I develop a sore throat or start belching up fluid and or bile.

I have questioned sulfites before because I didn't feel good after a few things containing sulfites, but then it's nah, it can't be. Also products containing MSG in canned soups, but yet I can go to a Chinese Resturant and feel okay, so again, nah, it can't be. Won't it be hard to do a food diary with multiple allergies? There is so much that I don't eat already because it makes me feel sick.

Thanks, for the information, I will keep an eye on my attacks and check ingredients of things I ate that may be causing the problem. Yes, I also noticed a lot of long worded ingredients in the bread lately.

What really concerns me is the government allows so much chemical as being safe, but they don't know how many products a person may eat of the chemical daily and or how often, which may put them way over the safe limit amount.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5029
   Posted 8/27/2014 8:33 AM (GMT -6)   
dorri -
That 135 is tachycardia. It's a reaction! Anything over 100. Blood pressure doesn't matter so much. When heart rate goes up BP goes down to compensate.

Do you have any more foods you can point to as triggers? Pork and maple syrup have sulfite. The food journal will help! I keep a small notebook on my kitchen counter.

You can do "challenge testing" (see posts in search box) for individual foods, including milk. You start with a tablespoonful, wait 20 minutes, then 2 T and wait another 20 min, then double again and wait ... until you hit 16 tablespoons. If you don't have a reaction after that you probably don't have a sensitivity.

Now, for milk, that was testing for the proteins. You can have (or acquire) lactose intolerance, which generally gives you gas, maybe diarrhea. To do the challenge, I would use lactose-free milk. I like skim so I don't have to worry about the fat.

I don't think I'd do a challenge with mustard. I did do it for gelatin, which has sulfite and to which I react strongly. I made gelatin cubes - non-flavored, unsweetened. Not delicious.

I can't eat some brands of soups, Campbells, but am OK with most of Progresso's. I can't eat most tomato soup because of lactose. A lot of things that have MSG also have sulfites.

The belching and reflux can also be symptoms of a food or chemical intolerance. Write down ALL the reactions in the journal.

My allergist was the one who got me doing the journal and the only doctor who recognized that my reactions were food intolerances. MY GI and cardio docs still don't believe in this. But I can reproduce my reactions by just eating something with my triggers.

Free online book http://www.learningtarget.com/nosulfites/index.htm

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1979
   Posted 8/27/2014 10:07 PM (GMT -6)   
The other big one for me is eggs, but I never connected eggs with Gerd. Think it's more of a sensitivity than it is an allergy or who knows? Just know it has me running.

I was looking up ingredients on a box of candy, no sulphites but shellac? I had to read it twice, the candy has shellac in it, so I took out my Food Addictive book and yes, they use it to shine candy. No wonder people have gut problems.

I haven't been able to handle milk and milk products but recently they started selling Lactose free milk and it works for me, no gas or discomfort but does nothing to stop the runs. Don't think it increases Gerd but will monitor it a few hours after I drink it.

When I have time will look up sulphites and see which foods contain it.

Thank you.
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