Posted 3/22/2016 7:21 PM (GMT -6)
Welcome to the forum. We're not doctors here but folks just like you who have (or have had) issues related to GERD about which we have questions. Still, you'll find so many people here who can share thoughts, ideas, insight and even their own stories to help provide you with some support.
I, too, have had GERD for years and lived on either (or both) omeprazole and Pepcid Complete. I really should have taken out stock long ago! I also had years of increasing shortness of breath and pain behind my sternum. This would, at times, radiate to my back and shoulders. I was tipped off to a hiatal hernia this past December by an x-ray taken for a bout of bronchitis. After a visit to a surgeon for consultation and an upper GI with barium contrast, I was diagnosed with a giant paraesophageal hernia (3/4 of my stomach pushed through the diaphragm into my chest) that required surgery. After a few more tests (endoscopy, manometry and ph probe), I was told that surgery was appropriate and that it would take care of a number of issues that I didn't realize were related to my GERD and hernia:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased exhaustion
- Heartburn, reflux and chest pain
- Increased asthma issues and frequent bouts of bronchitis and sinus infections
I'm now 11 days post surgery for my hernia repair and Nissan fundoplication -- a procedure to eliminate the GERD and support the hernia repair.
I don't know your exact situation but both GERD and a hernia can affect your breathing and cause pain in your chest and back. Certainly, chest pain is nothing to mess around with so if you have any instances of true concern, please see a doctor for a heart workup. If your GERD is increasing in severity or pain, you should speak to your doctor about an upper GI and an endoscopy -- a painless scope that allows your doctor to see any visible impact of your GERD on your esophagus. Any early indication of problems, particularly with your concerns, would be seen with this test and, hopefully, your concerns will be eased.
Was your hernia diagnosed with an upper GI? It may have grown since diagnosis, if quite a while ago, and may be causing your instances of shortness of breath to increase.
A doctor can certainly provide you with the information you need to both be informed about your specific condition and treatment needs and also be advised as to any risk for cancer. But you're spot on with both the shortness of breath and pain being possibly caused by the GERD and/or hernia.
Please let us know how things go and continue to ask questions here. The folks on this board are INCREDIBLE and have answers to just about anything. Fire away and good luck to you, Randy!