Hello everyone, I'm currently suffering from GERD, Barrett's Esophagus, Hiatal Hernia, and ulcers in both my esophagus and duodenum. I was just diagnosed last Monday via an endoscopy after 2 months of having cardiac related symptoms with no known cardiac origin. I had numerous EKG's, echocardiogram, stress echocardiogram and a CT scan of my chest along with numerous bloodwork. My symptoms have been chest pressure, left shoulder pain that goes down into my arm, elbow and forearm, pain between my shoulder blades, jaw/tooth/ear pain on the left side and a feeling of a lump in my throat. These symptoms come and go, I always have at least one at any given time and nothing seems to make it better. I can have these symptoms while exerting myself or while just sitting there. I did have a root canal done on July 16th on my 2nd molar on the left side but it only offered mild relief of the jaw/tooth/ear pain. I was put on Clindamycin 150 mg 4 times a day for 10 days, I ended up developing severe diarrhea (sorry if TMI) and now I'm on Vancomycin Hydrochloride 250 mg 4 times for 10 days to clear up the havoc the clindamycin did on my digestive system. I also was just prescribed Protonix 40 mg once a day and I also take Zoloft 50 mg once a day and Ativan .5 mg as needed. I was prescribed both the Zoloft and Ativan when my cardiac came back clear but I was still having symptoms.
This all started 2 months ago with the jaw, chest pressure and left arm pain. Like I said someways are better than others but it seems that since I have started the Protonix and Vancomycin I have the lump in throat feeling and pain between my shoulder blades more. I'm so scared that the cardiac workup missed something and that all this is not related to my numerous digestive problems. Does anyone else have my digestive issues with similar symptoms? I'm at such a loss right now. I'm a 35 year old female with 2 young children and I have lost my ability to enjoy life. I do smoke and drink coffee, which are 2 huge no,no's and I'm making progress in eliminating them both. I just don't understand how all of a sudden these are triggers for me. I was symptom free 2 months ago, not one thing bothered me and now I feel like I'm literally falling apart. My GI Dr was quite surprised that I was only having issues for 2 months with the damage that is done to my esophagus. I was diagnosed with GERD in 2007 and put on Protonix 20 mg 2 times a day for 2 years. My esophagus was quote, unquote "healed" and I was able to come off the medication. My last endoscopy before last Monday was in 2009 and I was told everything looked great. Sorry if I'm rambling but I just need answers and reassurance. I literally am becoming depressed with all of this. Thanks in advance :-)
Your presenting symptoms does look like cardiac related though sometimes gastric problems cause the same symptoms.-- "My symptoms have been chest pressure, left shoulder pain that goes down into my arm, elbow and forearm, pain between my shoulder blades, jaw/tooth/ear pain on the left side and a feeling of a lump in my throat."
Have you tried taking antacids, or better- Peptobismol when you are experiencing these symptoms ? , try it just to see if it will make any difference. If it goes away, it is your gastric system. Protonix works slower and will not be of good use for this differentiation test.
After antibiotics, its a good practice to rebuild your friendly intestinal bacteria with Probiotics for better digestion.
Smoking, drinking coffee, taking medications and just the daily stresses of life depletes the Magnesium stores in the body. It needs to be replaced everyday. Food is no enough to maintain the Mg amounts that we need, so supplementation is always necessary.
You could use Magnesium supplements to help with depression. It helps with anxiety, relaxes the muscles, nerves, lowers BP and promotes sound sleep. Its a healthier choice than taking Zoloft and or Ativan.
I take Mg Glycinate pills to relax me, it also helps with gastric problems. I even took it prior to my mammogram to be able to relax for the procedure. It can help that way. Taking Magnesium needs to be balanced with Vit D3 and Calcium foods. Avoid Mg oxide as its the least absorbed kind of Mg. and it also causes diarrhea.
I hope Peptobismol helps your chest/back/arm/jaw pains- to be sure its not cardiac related. Try it . They usually give this in the ER for this kind of pain for cardio-gastric pain differentiation.
Good luck and wish you well.
I'm a fellow traveler who has Barrett's, a hiatal hernia, and also a heart patient. It isn't easy to tell the two symptoms apart, I totally understand that. However, you have had a complete non-invasive cardiac profile, and given what you have written, if you had even a small cardiac issue it would have manifested itself in one of the tests. I'd relax about that possibility. If you want the gold standard test, ask for an angiogram which is invasive, but given your details in the post, it seems you have covered your bases. Simple blood tests can show if there is a heart attack happening, as well as determine your heart health. For example, when I was having a heart attack, Tropinin levels confirmed it, and my Congestive Heart Failure was determined by a BNP test.
That said, if you have Barrett's Esophagus and a hiatal hernia, I'd strongly suggest you work with your Internist to find a solution. I had what is called a Nissen Fundoplication to control my Barrett's Esophagus and fix the hernia with great success. The evidence of cancer cells have actually disappeared after five years.
I'm not a health professional, but have had extensive heart issues as well as GERD problems, and I'd center on your GERD issues from your description.
I am about your age, also have 2 kids. I understand what you are going through. I have a long and complicated medical history and had heart valve OHS in 2008 and have always struggled with chest pains and throat issues.
My heart has been doing good and I got a diagnoses of Barret's Oesophagus in 2009 and had my Nissen Fundo-anti reflux surgery last year.
My throat symptoms persisted and I have Chricopharengeal muscle dysfunction/spasms and thickening and I am getting frequent botillium injections into the muscle to help control this condition.
Having said all this: don't despair and don't give up and let depression get the better of you. Go through the process of elimination: I think your heart is fine and now that you have eliminated that, concentrate on keeping it fine by stop smoking (as you said, you already started quitting and well done!) and concentrate on what you need to do to keep your GERD under control, with medication/more lifestyle changes, etc.
You need to LIVE and have a quality life and GERD can be controlled and many people manage to live a full and productive life with GERD. Barret's is a pre-cancerous condition and should be checked annually or at least 3 yearly if there are no dysplasia/changes.
All the best and keep on talking to us and let us help you :)
I agree with toourlady that Magnesium is a very important supplement to help with GERD/reflux etc. You might ask your doctor for Dexilant. After being on so many different antacids, this is the one that works for me.
Yes, acid reflux and other stomach problems can feel just like a heart attack and ironic enough, Nitro can help either one.
Nux Vomica is a natural supplement that helps to heal ulcers. Also cabbage, pickles and sauerkraut. When my stomach hurts too much, I turn to coleslaw. It seems to soothe it. I also take Nux Vomica when the pain gets intense (I'm sure you know that feeling).
I hope this info was helpful. Wishing you the best...
Smiley2000 gave you great advice. You didn't say you had quit smoking. If you continue to smoke, what is the use of looking at conventional or 'natural' cures? Smoking cause all kinds of lung, esophagus and stomach problems, which will be impossible to sort out as long as you are addicted to pimp sticks. As a former smoker, I know what I'm talking about.
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