GERD causing chest pain?

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Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/20/2007 7:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
 
Over the past couple of days I've been getting a mild pain in the upper left part of my chest. It usually appears roughly where the second rib down from the top joins my breast bone, but can be anywhere from there out to my arm pit at that height along my chest. It never gets that strong (same sort of intensity as trapped wind for example!) and it slowly comes and goes. The closest thing I can think to compare it to is the pain you get in your chest if you have a really bad cough (just not quite so intense)
 
I'm an apparently healthy 23 year old non smoking, light drinker and I've had an ECG 18 months ago as part of a work medical and also a general blood test and several blood pressure checks in the past few months due to a mystery illness, now thought to have been anxiety.
 
The reason I thought about acid reflux stems from a couple of things - I've had a tickle in my throat recently as if I need to cough (but without actually doing so) which I thought might be stress related and someone mentioned GERD. Secondly, I've also experienced a fluttering feeling very occasionally in my chest, which apparently sounds similar to the esophageal spasms that my dad's side of the family get due to congenital acid reflux problems. My 'flutterings' seem to be linked to indigestion as well and of course the family history tends to suggest I'd be suseptable anwyay......
 
Can anyone suggest what might be causing these problems (GERD or otherwise?) right now, I'm principally concerned about the discomfort in my chest. It's not especially painful and it's not stopping me doing anything, but it's kind of worrying given the area of the body involved.
 
Chris.

Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/20/2007 12:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Now getting the pain more towards my left arm pit. Again, it's not severe (I probably wouldn't notice it if I was doing something) and theres no tightness of the chest or anything associated with it.

If you immagine a line drawn from my left arm pit to the centre of my chest it can occur anywhere along that axis. Can GERD pain get that far across?
 
Should also stress it pops up anywhere along there and sometimes into my arm, but it doesn't move, it's not "a shooting pain" and I wouldn't say it radiates. It's in one place or another.

Post Edited (Chris711) : 3/21/2007 12:05:09 PM (GMT-6)


Lokk
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 3/21/2007 11:14 AM (GMT -7)   
I would say that's probably GERD. Last summer I started noticing a constant burn or tightening near my heart, and I was EXTREMELY worried that something was wrong. At night it would become a lot worse (little did I know it was because I was laying down and acid was going up my esophagus). If the pain gets worse when you lay down, it's GERD. Go see a doctor and get put on some medication. I neglected to for about 2 months and ended up going to the emergency room because I thought I was having a heart attack one night. Was definitely not worth all the anxiety/panic attacks it caused me. Now I take one pill a day and have no symptoms whatsoever. Good luck to you.

mlp
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 3/21/2007 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
If the pain gets really bad you should go to the hospital. Better safe than sorry and don't worry about being embarrassed. Acid reflux is one of the major causes of people going, thinking they're having a heart attack. Having said that, it does sound like acid reflux. When I started having problems I went to my regular doctor who did an EKG. He gave me one suggestion -- if the pain is unrelated to physical exertion, it's probably acid reflux. If you feel pain when you walk, etc., get to a doctor.

You can take some over the counter medication if you can't see the doctor for awhile. Prilosec and Prevaid, among others, no longer need a prescription but are expensive. Zantac works quicker -- you can take that until you see the doctor. You can also read through the posts for some of the natural treatments (licorice, etc.). I found certain things like changing my diet, not eating 2 hours before bed, raising the top part of my body while sleep, etc. seemed to help.

I'm convinced stress was a big contributor for me. I've cut down the stress and I'm doing better.

There is a chance it is the gallbladder. I also have a problem with the gallbladder and discovered the symptoms can range for each individual. I suspect not since I think the pain is too high, but who knows. Just make sure your doctor considers everything.

Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/22/2007 2:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks. The comment about physical exertion is really encouraging. Even though I've cut down quite drastically on my physical activity recently (....moved to suburbia, doh!) I was still running a couple of miles every week until these pains started to crop up last week (I stopped as I thought the cough sensation along with the pain meant I had a chest infection coming on)

Last night was interesting. I still had the pain before I went to sleep, but I took the maximum dose of gaviscon (some antacid tablets) and slept with a couple of pillows propping me up. The pain eased a lot and I noticed a burning feeling in my stomach and rising upwards (although not quite as far as the place I'd had the pain) this is the first time I've felt the burning sensation I'd normally associate with acid indigestion and my stomach was still going crazy, so I'm defintely having some problems in that area. Anyway, that aside I slept the best I have done in ages.....

I've now been up for just over 2 hours and I think it might be comming back, but presumably that's normal if you're just taking non-perscription antacids?

Gonna phone the doctors in a second and try and get an appointment.

Whilst I'd rather not have anything like gall baldder problems or a hernia, this still sounds a whole lot better to me than having a heart problem at 23! Apart from a string of stress related health problems lately life is actually really good for me and I just want to get out there and enjoy it. I'm petrified of something getting in the way of that, whilst I've got so much to live for. I know that sounds mellow dramatic!!
 
edit: Just phoned the doctor and they only have appointments for strict emergencies this afternoon eyes hope it is harmless.....

Post Edited (Chris711) : 3/22/2007 4:00:09 AM (GMT-6)


Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/23/2007 9:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Ok, did get to the doctor this morning and he suggested acid reflux.

The paranoid hypo in me was a bit disturbed by how quickly he dismissed heart troubles - he listen via a stephoscope at a few points then said with complete confidence "it's not cardiac if that's what you're thinking", but logically I can't see that I'd be at serious risk at my age and lifestyle anyway, so I think I should trust the professional in this case :)

Seems to have got better recently - maybe I've calmed down a little.

Was surprised that he only suggested getting the same 'over the counter' tablets as I've bought so far, but to be fair, I haven't been taking a full dose so far (I'm not really a meds person really....)

Has anyone else experienced a sudden onset of GERD? Seems weird that I could eat and drink what I liked last week and now bread and water is enough to give me pains!!
 
Have a few further questions(!)
 
Can acid reflux go away? - I've never had digestion problems before, but it seems to be pretty bad all of a sudden? Can it go away just as quickly?
 
Can normal indigestion remedies be used to treat it? That said - do I want to, gonna spend a fortune in Gaviscon at this rate! eyes
 
Can anyone desrcribe the esophaegal spasms? Whatever I've felt before kind of panicked me a bit and I kind of focused on that and nothing else and automatically assumed it was my heart - could it be confused for a heart 'flutter' do you think? Only experienced it a handful of times and never thought to pin down exactly where it happens! Think it varies in intensity though too.
 
Finally, is GERD different to acid reflux? 

Post Edited (Chris711) : 3/24/2007 12:08:48 PM (GMT-6)


Christo
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 3/30/2007 11:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear chris,
I have had many of the same problems as you, however, imo, without an anxiety condition. I think it is quite normal to feel anxiety about symptoms we cannot explain and pain/ discomfort that our primary carers cannot empathise with. I do not really have solutions for you, but will read your posts with great interest because we have some of the same symptoms. I would definitely get as many tests done as possible. The endoscopy is painless and very worthwhile and will let you know part of what you are up against.

Incidentally, you wrote: "Now getting the pain more towards my left arm pit. Again, it's not severe (I probably wouldn't notice it if I was doing something) and theres no tightness of the chest or anything associated with it."

I have had that too.

(1) I have also produced massive amounts of saliva and had chest pains. [A recent angiogram was ok so it's not heart]
(2) had a few episodes of foul and very acidic saliva passing up into the throat.
(3) experience the flutters (almost like a new or special pulse). This occurs mainly at night.

The nexium has helped with number (1) above, but not done much to alleviate 2 and 3. It's still early days, though, because I have only been taking Nexium 3 weeks.

Please write and let me know how you get on and especially if you find a solution to your problems.
best wishes
Christo

Christo
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 3/31/2007 12:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh, I forgot to add. Very, very few people with acid reflux get cancer. Indeed, only a tiny percentage of people suffering from Barret's E (and you don't have that) get cancer so don't get upset. Get it diagnosed properly, get it treated and keep asking the GPs questions and getting tests done.

Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/31/2007 4:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
 
I wasn't aware there was a cancer risk associated with it?
 
It's not something I'm especially worried about, to be honest. The doctor was confident it wasn't cardiac (and some 'kill or cure' long distance cycling confirmed that I think!!) and all I usually get is chest pain. It's persistent, but it's usually more discomfort than outright pain. I seem to have avoided a lot of the other symptoms so far and that's without so much as changing my diet.
 
No further tests were mentioned by my GP and the situation over here is that no one has health insurance (well, very few) and the state health service only spend money on investigating stuff if it looks serious. Maybe in time, things will get more serious and I'll have to pay for tests or treatment, but right now I'm OK.
 
The anxiety is the remnance of a general anxiety condition I'm getting over rather than anything brought on specifically by the GERD. It turns me into a bit of a hypochondriac (hence I was convinced I had a heart problem, until my doctor diagnosed acid reflux) but I think it's a seperate problem. The only link is the hypochondria can produce a lot of stress (you really do think you have heart disease/cancer/MS....) and that is probably what aggrevated the GERD.
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