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Difficulty Breathing/pain under ribcage
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Difficulty Breathing/pain under ribcage

I am having a difficult time breathing with pain under my rib cage and heartburn for six months.  My doctors gave me pantoloc which has been controlling the heartburn most of the time but I still have burning in my throat and am having trouble breathing and am having pain and bloating under my front ribs (esp. 1/2 hr. after I eat).  I also feel pain in my back lower ribs when I breathe deeply.  COuld this be related to a hiatal hernia? I am also having a a difficult time burping as I can't seem to pass air up my throat.  I also get food sitting in my throat and I feel as if I am gagging all the time.  I think it is a hiatal hernia brought on by a violent cough I had for about 4 months.  I asked my doctor to have an endoscopy and after he said that I had esophogitis but did not have a hiatal hernia.  Is there a possibility that the doctor is wrong and the scope just did not see the hernia?  If so, what is the best test to see if I have a hiatal hernia? Would corrective surgery be an option? I know some people my age that have had similar problems and have had corrective surgery for a hiatal hernia and are living great lives.  I just want my life back and believe that surgery could correct this problem.  Is there any place that specailizes in this.  I am currently living in Canada and there is a 1 year waiting list to correct this and I cannot wait that long.  Or could it just be chronic bronchitis that is creating my breathing problems?  But I am a non-smoker, 42, male who exercised religiously until this happened. Is it possible that a non-smoker can get chronic bronchitis? I should also let you know that I had my gall bladder out when I was only 19 and I heard that sometimes stones can still collect in the bile duct and can create this problem.  Could it be this?  What test should I ask for to detect this?  I am now getting depressed.  I also found a lump in my left testicle that the doctors are saying is a varicocele but I think is a hernia because I am having pain whenever I get up and walk around.  Can someone have a hernia that does not bulge out of his skin?  Can these two problems be related?  Up until this happened I was healthy and did not see a doctor for 20 years.  Please help me as I have been bed-ridden for 4 months over this.  Where do I turn for help?  What tests should I take to ensure I get these problems taken care of?  Please help.  Is there a place in the US I can go to to get this taken care of?
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To evaluate for a hiatal hernia, an upper GI series or upper endoscopy can be considered for a more thorough evaluation.  If you still have symptoms of reflux despite medical therapy, a 24-hr pH study can be considered for a definitive test.  If medical therapy isn't controlling the reflux, surgery can be considered.

To evaluate for bile duct stones, an MRCP or ERCP can be considered.  These tests are normally ordered in conjunction with a gastroenterologist.

Any tertiary care facility (i.e. academic medical center in a major city) should be able to have these tests available in the United States.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Medical Weblog:
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I just arrived back from the doctor and I will be getting a barium swallow test to see if I have a hiatial hernia.  I hope this is the case so then I can get on with my life.
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I was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus in April after having some similar symptoms. A hiatal hernia was not seen by a Barium Esophagram or EGD I had. I guess that's unusual to have Barretts without a HH. Anyway, I've looked at a lot of websites regarding GERD and Barretts. One I think you would find interesting is - http://www.mailbag.com/users/oesophagus/webdoc19.htm

After you read that, you can click on "Return to Index" at the top of the first page and there's a lot more interesting stuff you can read.
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I also have difficulty breathing with pain in my right side.  I was diagnosed with GERD, but the diagnose went unchecked for a whole year while it progressed to a very painful bout of esophagitis last January.  I had a scope in April of 2003 but my family doctor failed to give me the correct results, instead, telling me that everything was fine.  I had no treatment and the acid continued to burn my esophagus.  I could no longer feel it because of nerve damage.  It didn't come to light until I went in with difficulty swallowing and it was determined that the muscle at the top of the esophagus doesn't work properly anymore.  Food, liquids, and saliva pool there and I end up choking - mostly at night when I'm asleep but also while I'm awake.  
About a month ago I something new was happening.  When I sleep I stop breathing.  I don't snore.  I wake gasping for air, my heart is tacycardic and my limbs are completely asleep.  It happens every single night now.  I have a sleep study in the works and an neurological exam coming up but I believe that a lot of this is my esophagus.  But my gastroenterologist doesn't feel the need to do the scope again.  I am going to demand it however.  I have an appt. with him this next week.  The pain I feel is up under my rib cage on the right side.  The reason I think it's related to the esophagus is because it only seems to be excrutiating when I've been asleep.  When I get up the pain goes down but it's not gone completely.  It radiates around my whole right side and up under my arm.  It hurts terribly to take a deep breath.  I had an x-ray in the E.R. the other night and it was fine.  They also checked for a blood clot - also fine.  

Other things that are out of whack are my voice, which is now always hoarse, and the constant tightness in my chest.  I'm a 43 year old, slim, female and I am taking a double dose of Protonix daily, Toprol, and Buspar.  I take Toprol to help the tachycardia and WPW's and PVC's I have.  Buspar is because the doc thought this was all anxiety.

Does it sound reasonable that this pain and all the other ailments could be related to GERD?  I'm terrified because my grandmother died of cancer that originated in the esophagus.  If GERD goes untreated for a year can it turn into cancer that fast?
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Not to alarm ... howeever chack into "adult onset Muscular dystrophy".

You are describing symptoms which are markers for this ailment.

Goos luck.

Judy
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