I am a 19 year old female who has been running competitively for over 6 years. My sophomore year in high school, I began having severe breathing difficulties and even dropped out of a few cross country races. The doctors were unable to come up with a reason and I tried all kinds of steroid inhalers and medicine to treat asthma- with no relief. Finally, a friend suggested I get tested for Mononucleosis. It came back positive and the doctor said I had probably worsened/lengthened the illness by continuing to run. I took it easy for a few weeks and then began running again. I seemed to feel better, but I had lost over 20 pounds and was extremely underweight (5'9", 103 pounds). Because of this, I experienced an injury to a nerve in my hip and could not run for a few more weeks. I ran only a few times in the track season in the spring and then continued training throughout summer. At some point during this time, the breathing problems emerged... worse than ever. I struggled through my last 2 years of high school running. Some days were worse than others but it was always there. I could not get a deep breath and had pain upon inhalation, sometimes even radiating to my back. To this day, I still experience this problem. I will get sudden chest pains and episodes of breathlessness. I have tried everything it seems and nothing has worked. Also, I seem to have more fatigue than I did before I had the case of mono. One doctor suggested vocal chord dysfunction as the cause, so I underwent therapy for several months. When nothing changed, the therapist determined I did not have VCD. I have tried inhalers, tried eliminating foods from my diet, etc. The most recent idea was from a chiropractor who thought I may be gluten intolerant. I have been gluten free for over 3 months now, and am still experiencing the breathing difficulty. (However, some of my stomach pain has disappeared... I used to get unbearable pain and bloating in my stomach after eating). GERD has been mentioned, but I have been on an antacid daily medicine for over a year and still experience the breathing pain. It is very frustrating because, with the times I have run in the past, I could be a successful collegiate runner, but this problem has put a halt on my success. The breathing is worse when sprinting or doing high speed intervals. I have a noticeable stridor on inhalation that can get very scary. I also experience frequent dizziness. I have no idea where to go from here and I would do absolutely anything to figure out what is causing this problem.
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