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So, I have GERD (acid reflux) pretty bad. And a lot of the symptoms are very similar to anxiety; in fact, it was in high school when my acid reflux really became a problem that I developed anxiety.

Some symptoms of GERD that *I* have are:

. stomach pain and cramping

. chest pain

. feeling like there is pressure on my chest/ chest tightness

. occasional difficulty breathing

. super bloated. Like, enough to look pregnant a lot of the time

. feeling like I need to hiccup or burp

. nausea

. continual sore throat. It often feels like I'm just starting to get a cold, but stays like that for days or weeks

. my teeth often feel like they feel after I chew on a lemon. It's not the "fuzzy" teeth that you get in the morning when you need to brush, it's like a more acid-y feeling

. very tender abdomen. Like, don't touch it. Or hug me. At all. (When the symptoms subside this is not such a problem, but every doctor that's ever given me a physical says my abdomen is WAY more sensitive than it should be)

Recently, I had some tests done and found out that I have internal bleeding. I'm 99% sure acid reflux is the culprit, but I won't know for sure until I can get in to see a gastroenterologist. I also have developed iron-deficiency anemia from the blood loss, and found out that I am not absorbing nutrients like I should be (because I'm not digesting properly). Some other symptoms:

. dark stool (contains blood)

. dizziness/lightheadedness

. low blood pressure (I've always had this, it's just never been a problem before. Now it often makes me feel faint, and if I get warm I do start to faint)

. signs of malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies

. I also get sick with other stuff a lot more often than most people. I figure it's because I'm essentially malnourished and my immune system is not doing so hot. (right now it's a UTI and kidney infection. Which means antibiotics. Which means more acid reflux)

Usually the treatment for GERD is to prescribe PPIs, which are proton pump inhibitors. They are supposed to work in a few months, and then you can go off them. Some people need to go back on occasionally if their symptoms flare. I've been on the highest dose available (40mg) for over a year, and while I am much better ON the pills, they certainly haven't fixed the problem. It's been getting fairly steadily worse.

I know that stress is a big factor in my GERD. I'm working on learning better ways to manage stress and anxiety. I also find that it CAUSES anxiety-so many symptoms are similar to symptoms of anxiety that I often mistake one for the other. It's a rough cycle.

Anyways, I wanted to post this in case anyone recognizes these symptoms and can talk to their doctor about it-like I said, my panic attacks started when this did. They got much better when I understood the symptoms of acid reflux and that what I was experiencing were bodily functions, not panic.

I also was wondering if there was anyone out there with bad GERD that has found cures. Like I said, the PPIs aren't working and I'm waiting to see a gastroenterologist. I guess surgery is an option, but from what I've read it can be fairly invasive and not always effective. I've found that drinking a little apple cider vinegar in water with some honey when the symptoms are REALLY bad can help, but it's no miracle cure for me.

Thoughts? Insights?

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Also, to note: My panic attacks would happen at weird times. In the middle of the night, when I was at home reading a textbook or novel, In the doctor's office, anywhere. The only pattern I noticed was that they were always accompanied by bad stomach pain, which my doctor assumed was a by-product of the anxiety. Eventually I saw another doctor and she told me that the process of acid reflux can ALSO irritate the adrenaline gland and release adrenaline into the bloodstream. With these weird physical symptoms and extra adrenaline, it's no surprise that I started having panic attacks. As soon as I could recognize the symptoms for what they were-acid reflux, not uncontrollable/unpredictable panic, the panic attacks lessened.

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I, also, have severe GERD, to the point where I would wake up in the middle of the night, choking on acid. It made my throat swell so that food kept getting stuck in my esophagus. Like you, I developed iron-deficient anemia. I'm taking 65mg of iron 3 times a day, and I take Vitamin C as well. That helps with iron absorption.

Have your GI doctor check for bile reflux as well. My Dr put me on Baclofen for a while (antispasmodic) to control the amount of bile my body was producing. Later, I discovered that I had a gallbladder full of rocks and was responsible for the overflow of bile. Vitamin C will help your body absorb iron, so try to take the maximum daily dosage.

When I get my really bad acid days, I drink chocolate milk. One thing that helped a great deal is Mylanta, but , oddly enough, only the cherry flavored stuff.

Oh, and really important: Stay away from any kind of mint. Nothing irritates GERD like peppermint or spearmint. Basically, if it has the word "Mint" in it, don't touch it. I used to drink mint tea, and when I stopped, my attacks decreased in frequency.

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I, also, have severe GERD, to the point where I would wake up in the middle of the night, choking on acid. It made my throat swell so that food kept getting stuck in my esophagus. Like you, I developed iron-deficient anemia. I'm taking 65mg of iron 3 times a day, and I take Vitamin C as well. That helps with iron absorption.

Have your GI doctor check for bile reflux as well. My Dr put me on Baclofen for a while (antispasmodic) to control the amount of bile my body was producing. Later, I discovered that I had a gallbladder full of rocks and was responsible for the overflow of bile. Vitamin C will help your body absorb iron, so try to take the maximum daily dosage.

When I get my really bad acid days, I drink chocolate milk. One thing that helped a great deal is Mylanta, but , oddly enough, only the cherry flavored stuff.

Oh, and really important: Stay away from any kind of mint. Nothing irritates GERD like peppermint or spearmint. Basically, if it has the word "Mint" in it, don't touch it. I used to drink mint tea, and when I stopped, my attacks decreased in frequency.

I am only taking 1 iron pill a day. I find that if I take more I get too many other stomach problems and it just makes it worse! I also take a big chewable vitamin C with it, along with a lot of other supplements. I take more pills than most grandmothers, it seems!

I am intolerant of whey proteins so unfortunately chocolate milk is not for me. What is mylanta?

Oh, I know about the peppermint. I never liked peppermint gum as a kid/teen because it made me feel weird. I had some peppermint tea the other week and I was hiccuping and burping for hours! (like, the whole day. I work in a high-end retail shop and it was super awkward. I hid behind the counter all day) It's awful. It's sad because I kind of like mint but it is EVIL. And so many people tell you to eat mind with stomach problems and I am like "you have no idea how bad an idea that is for me..."

What else have you found that's helped you? Did you get gallbladder surgery? And how does this relate to your anxiety or depression?

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I did have my gallbladder removed because the stones were irritating the bile ducts. My symptoms for GERD have decreased some since the surgery.

"How does this relate to your anxiety or depression?"

Nothing puts fear into you like the inability to breathe. At night, I used to wake up out of a sound sleep, gasping for air and the bitter taste of acid in my mouth. Sometimes, I am afraid to sleep for fear that I will wake up choking again. Before bed, I drink a cup of pure chamomile tea with honey. It helps to settle my stomach. During the day, a piece of sugarless gum (not mint) really helps to calm the raging fires in my chest.

I can't find anything that confirms acid reflux can irritate the adrenal glands. Perhaps, someone else might have a link. I know that adrenal glands can induce acid reflux, but I didn't know it was the other way around. I would love to read more about it.

So you are probably taking licorice root, slippery elm, and tumeric. Do you take Melatonin? That helps as well.

This is Mylanta:

http://www.mylanta.com/mylanta-ultimate-strength-liquid

Don't use Mylanta as a daily dose kind of thing. Use Mylanta when your symptoms are particularly bothersome.

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Hmm, I had an ultrasound a few years ago when all of this started, and my gallbladder looked fine. Things could have changed since then though, I suppose. I'll probably have another one done when I see the gastroenterologist.

It's comforting to hear that you have difficulty breathing too-when the reflux is bad I often feel like something is pressing on my chest and I gasp for air.

I don't know where to point you about the adrenaline thing. It might not be true...it's just what the doctor I saw at the time claimed. Though I think the sensation of acid reflux can be scary enough to induce panic on its own!

I am not taking any of those things. I am on patoprazole 40mg a day and have been on it for over a year. I try to eat more turmeric in my foods but I can't bring myself to just eat it. Does it come in capsules? How do those things help?

Is mylanta an antacid? I'm pretty skeptical of antacids because sometimes they can encourage production of MORE stomach acid, and that's not a good thing! I try to avoid them generally. Things got really bad for a while when I was taking tums regularly. ugh.

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Chewing gum encourages your mouth to produce more saliva, which contains natural acid-neutralizers. Licorice root, slippery elm, and tumeris help by creating a protective coating over your esophagus lining. Chamomile tea helps to promote digestive function and relieves irritated membranes. Melatonin helps to relieve heartburn pain. Tumeris does come in capsules:

http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/botanic-choice-turmeric-500-mg-herbal-supplement-capsules/ID=prod6100173-product?V=G&ext=frgl_Google_Vitamins_&_Supplements

as does licorice root (get the deglycyrrhizinated form so that it doesn't increase your blood pressure too much):

http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/enzymatic-therapy-dgl-deglycyrrhizinated-licorice%2c-tablets/ID=prod6152212-product

and Slippery Elm:

http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/nature%27s-way-slippery-elm-bark-370-mg-dietary-supplement-capsules/ID=prod6037577-product

Ah, you are taking Protonix. Me, too.

Tums works using a calcium carbonate, which can stimulate acid rebound. Mylanta works using Aluminum Hydrochloride and Magnesium Hydrochloride. They dissolve acid without the rebound. Remember, though. Don't use Mylanta every day. Just use it for breakthrough symptoms. . Also, consider simethicone ( Gas-X) to assist with any extra gas build up.

Difficulty breathing will definitely incite panic. A few years back, I was eating some steak, and it got stuck in my esophagus because it was so inflamed. It didn't block my airway; it got stuck right at the point where the food either decides to go to the stomach or come back up, right at the bottom of the gag reflex. For 30 minutes, I stood by my bathroom sink, trying to swallow it or get it to come back up. Because it was at the bottom of the gag reflex, I gagged for the entire time until finally, I was able to swallow it. Lord, almighty, my stomach was so sore. That was absolutely terrifying! Even worse, it happened again, only this time it was at a Japanese restaurant. Totally embarrassing.

My GERD is an extreme case caused by a hiatal hernia along with a Schatzki's ring. For years, I searched for anything that could help me, and all of these remedies that I am suggesting work beautifully for me. I hope they work for you as well.

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Thanks for the tips!

I finally got a prescription for metaclop and have been taking slippery elm. I also upped my PPI dose to 2x a day. Not noticing a ton of improvement yet though. :(

I have emetophobia so nausea is really horrible for me. I hope it goes away soon! :(

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Thanks for the tips!

I finally got a prescription for metaclop and have been taking slippery elm. I also upped my PPI dose to 2x a day. Not noticing a ton of improvement yet though. :(

I have emetophobia so nausea is really horrible for me. I hope it goes away soon! :(

I'm right there with you. I used to have bouts of nausea that lasted for 5-7 days. Something that might offer a brief few moments of relief from nausea is Listerine Cinnamon Breath Strips.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/10452812?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227000000000&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=21486607510&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=19880599990&veh=sem

It only gives you a few minutes of relief, but when you've been nauseous for 2 days, any little bit of relief is welcome.

Have you tried supplementing your PPI with Prevacid (Ranitidine). Do you know whether or not you have a gastric ulcer? My friend tried something called Dexilant, and she got immediate results.

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I don't know if I have a gastric ulcer or not, I'm seeing the gastroenterologist on tuesday though!

It turns out that the metaclop was a horrible drug for me. It did help the reflux a bit but it caused insane anxiety and restlessness and I had to stop taking it. Ugggh.

Feeling a little better since I got of the antibiotics and started taking probiotics regularly. Still pretty uncomfortable though, and anxious from the metaclop/about my stomach acting up now that I've stopped taking it.

The anxiety and gastro issues feed each other, I wish I could get at least one of them to just stop!

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Omg. I feel the same. Whilst I have been on ppi and had treatment for h.pylori infection I too feel faint in the heat. I feel like I need to burp all then time but cant. Im bloated feel sick and just blahhh. I had no idea the symptoms were so interchangeable. Thankyou.

Off to the docs today so something extra to talk about.

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