Hi, everyone here seems nice and helpful so I thought I'd share my story (and hopefully update as the weeks progress).
Background: I am a 27 year old thin male medical student who was perfectly healthy before this month
My symptoms are a chronically irritated, red, and inflamed sore throat with a globus sensation. Sometimes I get post-nasal drip but it is rare and goes away. I have hoarseness sometimes in the morning. Thankfully, I don't have a chronic cough or throat clearing, voice changes, trouble breathing, choking, or pain/difficulty with swallowing per se. I do get anxious when eating because it always feels like there is something stuck in my throat due to the irritation but it gets better after several minutes.
I first started noticing my symptoms at the beginning of this month (June 2016). I have never seen so many doctors in such a short span of time as my health was perfect despite the stresses from medical school and moving to a colder environment (I've never even seen a primary care doctor). But yeah, I noticed the symptoms I listed above but didn't think too much of them. Out of concern for uvilitis or an infection, I went to an urgent care center and they said I had tonsillitis and gave me amoxicillin and prednisone. These did nothing which concerned me. A distressing situation occurred one day when I was eating something and still felt it in my throat. I went to the ER for this but they said what I ate must have irritated or abraded the already irritated throat I had. They said it was strep and sent me on my way. However, my throat didn't get any better and it remained red and raw.
I would have had no idea what this could have been had I not started developing odd chest pains. These chest pains started like 2-3 weeks after my throat stuff. I went to my PCP and told him about
this and he put me on 40 mg omeprazole (Prilosec) once a day thinking it was reflux. My chest pains continued the same for a few days after but they have stopped now thankfully. I hope this means the medicine is working effectively (despite the fact that I don't even know if I was taking them right--due to my hypercautiousness about
my throat and things getting stuck I have not tried swallowing the pills and instead just
opened the capsules and put them into water and drank them like that).
After doing much research online I came to the conclusion that this could be LPR (which I had no idea about
even after one year in med school) so I had decided to adopt the lifestyle changes everyone here knows about
. This week I have seen two different ENT specialists to see if my throat issues were really due to reflux or something else and to gain a sense of the extent of the damage. They both looked into my throat and said it was reflux. I liked the second doctor better because the first thing he said was LPR and he told me had it too. He looked into my throat with a laryngoscope and told me how the anatomy looked. He basically said my posterior pharynx wall had a cobblestone pattern because the lymphoid tissue there is what swells up the most. He also said he could see the phlegm/mucus there too and also that pretty much the entire posterior pharynx/larynx area was inflammed but not the anterior side. On a scale of 10, he said the irritation was at a 10/10. So I was diagnosed with LPR without any special tests. It was reassuring to have him say that "95%" of people with this start to get better within 6 weeks of treatment (that number was probably made up but I get what he was getting at). He told me to take my prilosec before dinner and to take it for at least 2 months. I hope this dosage is sufficient. He also stressed the importance of DIET which seems to be the case.
How I am managing my symptoms:
-I guess I'm still in med student mode as I have been reading up on many research papers about
this condition and its prognosis and possible treatments.
-I have raised the head of my head, don't lie down after eating, eat small meals, and take medications as directed.
-I have decided to adopt a very low acid diet (from Jamie Kouffman's book) because it seems that while my acid
reflux seems to be waning (as I am getting ZERO chest pains) there is still the problem of residual pepsin, which can be reactivated with acidic foods. (http://www.voiceinstituteofnewyork.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Koufman-Low-Acid-Diet.pdf). I haven't been saintly with this though but I am trying.
-I have been drinking alkaline water in an attempt to inactivate the pepsin in my throat (http://www.voiceinstituteofnewyork.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Koufman-7-12.pdf)
-I want to get some Gaviscon Advance because the alginate in it can physically prevent reflux and because it can inhibit the effects of pepsin and bile acids (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235428954_The_role_of_an_alginate_suspension_on_pepsin_and_bile_acids_-_key_aggressors_in_the_gastric_refluxate_Does_this_have_implications_for_the_treatment_of_GORD and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18506466). The problem is that americans can only get this from the UK and shipping here takes forever but I am determined.
-Lastly, I've found that an important thing is to relax. There have been many instances where it felt like I couldn't even feel my throat discomfort because I was in a relaxed and contented state where I wasn't concerning myself with the anxiety of this condition. Sometimes there are times where I can only think about
it and it ruins even fun or usually pleasurable experiences for me. And then there are times where I forget about
it (like when I am talking to a friend on the phone or watching something).
-As a future doctor and as someone who's never had a health problem, this experience has given me lots of insight about
what patients must feel when they have chronic conditions with no easy quick cures or even definite answers. It must feel disheartening when a doctor seems not to take your complaints seriously or does not know enough about
-The course of this condition is a complete unknown to me. I hope everything I am doing will work out in the end. I heard that the healing of your throat may take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to 6 months. So I just have to be patient and not let this condition consume me and not think that it will get worse or that it will last the rest of my life. I have to remember that the throat just takes a while to heal and I just need to give it time. I have to enjoy myself and living.
-I am almost mad that the chest pains/heartburn have gone, because I can deal with chest pains here and there but the persistent throat discomfort and anxiety before and after eating is what is driving me up the wall. I was already skinny to begin with and this has made me lose further weight, especially with this new diet.
Some questions for you:
-How long have you had LPR and have your symptoms improved or resolved? Which meds were you on and what did you do? Have there been reoccurrences?
Thanks for reading. I will update this topic as I get better. I hope everyone here gets well