Ten years ago, I had GERD symptoms everyday for about a month...(no heartburn sensation, but I could feel the acid in my throat, I choked on it at night, acid reflux, and could feel acid vapor in my ears, eyes and mouth day and night). And, for the last two weeks, I've been having the same symptoms.
This time around I'm worried because, two years ago, my father died of Esophageal cancer. We're both anxious types of persons, and both times, my GERD symptoms came after a few days of hyperventilation and "panick attacks" . Like him, I don't sleep much (4 to 6 hours per night). The only major difference is that I have never smoked, and my dad smoked a pack a day for most of his life, he started smoking at 13 and died at 64. All my life, I remember him coughing every morning like he was going to die. I always thought it was because he smoked, but after his death, I wonder if GERD was also part of it, He probably had chronic GERD and didn't know it, or thought it was because of his smoking habit.
Besides my two GERD episodes, I rarely have heartburn (except for my two pregnancies, but only occasionally, and I read that this is quite normal and common).
Should I worry and see my doctor? The first time, I did, and all the tests were negative, and I even saw a specialist and didn't see nothing wrong with me. The medication I took (I think it was prilosec and something to reduce the acidity in the stomach, didn't work on me, only gave me side effects...). My family doctor just said it was stress and suggested I take up meditation...like this is all in my head. My symptoms are real...especially when I wake up in panic because I choke on acid at night. This time around I didn't bother going to see my doctor, because she will say the same thing to me again...
MY QUESTION IS : How long does it take for the acid to start making real dammage in the esophageal wall, and possibly cause cancer?
ALSO, if my dad had chronic GERD, did he pass it on to me? Is this hereditary?
Hello Changaud. I have read and also been informed by my family doctor that chronic acid reflux can take years to form into esophageal cancer. Usually beforehand, you will develop a condition in the lining of your esophagus known as Barret's Esophagus. This disease is a pre-cancerous change in the lining of your esophagus, caused by years of irritation from acid reflux. People diagnosed with Barret's will be recommended to undergo yearly endoscopy exams to make sure the Barret's has not become cancerous. I didn't mess around when I started having reflux issues on a near daily basis. I went to see a doctor. If you are having issues with GERD, I would recommend doing the same.
Forgot to mention that I have 2 sisters in my family that suffer from GERD, as well as some nieces. Not sure about my mother, but I know my father had ulcers for years and years before his passing (his death was from a 2nd heart attack, not digestive problems). Now I have GERD as well, so maybe it is genetic?
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.