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Burning Lungs and Throat
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Burning Lungs and Throat

Burning Lungs and Throat

I have a burning sensation in my lungs and throat when I run or when I do any high intensity excise. Several hours after my exercise I take a large breath and it feels like my lungs are on fire. The only thing I can equate the burning sensation too, is when you take a huge breath on a very smoky day.

I assume that something is being inflamed in the lungs and along my esophagus. But I don't know what the cause.

My problem started approximately one year ago while cycling and has gotten worse since than. I also have noticed something else. During emotional lump-in-the-throat type feeling when watching a movie, I get a burning sensation in my chest near my sternum.

At first my Doctor thought it might be heart related. The stress test and ECG came out normal. Lung chest X-Ray was also normal.

Then my Doctor thought it might be GERD, but the Barium swallow/upper GI series test results showed no reflux disease or Hiatal hernia.

Any help will be appreciated,
Bob
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242588_tn?1224275300
The barium swallow does not exclude the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the diagnosis strongly suggested by your symptoms.  The symptoms do not suggest heart or lung disease, especially given the normal EKG and stress test.  And, clearly it is not just exercise related but occurs when you are watching a movie.

You and your doctor might want to consider further testing of your esophagus, for occult reflux.  Two possible approaches:  1) the placement of a double level, 24 hour pH probe; and 2) direct examination of your esophagus called esophagoscopy.
9 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Bob,

I've had the same problem now since December.  I have no idea what the problem is.  

In the morning the pain is so intense I feel like removing my left lung and esophagus and throwing it against the wall.  

Are both your lungs inflamed or just one?    
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes both lungs. The doc said it’s not in my lungs, it only feels that way. He still thinks its acid reflux causing the inflammation.

I think the only way to get to the cause is to see a pulmonary expert. And the only way I’ll get any answers is to have an endoscopy. This way the doc will see what’s really going on.

I’ve been procrastinating about going because they have to put you to sleep when they stick the camera down your throat.

This is why I’ve posted my problem. I am hoping I will get some answers from someone with the same problem.
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Avatar_n_tn
Amazing, I've had the same exact problem since mid-November.  I ran the Chicago Marathon in October, and by late November was having exercise-induced asthma, burning lungs, burning throat, and tightness in my chest.  Inhalers all but solved the asthma component.  But the burning still persists.  I too had a barium test, which proved negative for GERD.  My voice is often very hoarse.  I have tons of post nasal drip, often tinged with blood.  Also, I frequently have sinus headaches.  I did have exposure to asbestos 2 days before this all began, while moving some of my girlfriends things into the basement storage area of a very old building.  But I've been assured by every doc that inhalation of asbestos fibers could/would not cause these symptoms.  But yet, here I am, almosst 5 months later, with no answers.  I'm in process of scheduling an appointment at National Jewish Medical Center to try to figure this thing out.  If/when I ever do, I'll post results here.  Question:  Do you also have post nasal drip, and general fatigue/malaise?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had this problem too. Finally got to a GI doc that specializes in reflux related asthma.(this asthma is a brand new diagnosis for me)My asthma was only diagnosed by the broncoprov test. I was super reactive to that - yet most my PFTs were normal.

Had endoscopy that revealed some mild chronic inflammation.

Started on nexium 2X/day and zantac at night.

Did the 24 hr manometry/ph test - revealed I had lots and lots of non acid reflux and high esophageal spasms.The reflux reached as far as my throat!Have never had the typical heartburn - just as you described - heavyness behind sternum and burning with breathing many *phantom* sore throats.Generalized overwhelming fatigue.

Started on baclofen(muscle relaxant) - ever since NO MORE HEAVINESS!!
Started on amitryptoline (for the hypersensitive esophagus)and am finally starting to feel the burning less and less. Have even had a few days that I do not think about my breathing. HOW REFRESHING!
Not all better yet - but if it stays like it is right now I can live with it.Six months ago I didn't say that.Didn't realize how crappy I was feeling until I am starting to feel better bit by bit.

GOOD LUCK!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your replies they are much appreciated.

Your input has given me confidence and a direction that will help me to solve my medical issues.  Isn’t the internet great!

Thanks again,
Bob
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Avatar_n_tn
I can appreciate what you are going through because I have the same thing.  I had not been well for 3 years.  Gradually got worse.  Shortness of breath on exercise, pain and burning in chest.  I have had 2 endoscopys done showing esphogitis/gastritis, sometimes spitting up blood in morning.  Lungs burn, back burns.  Now I can hardly eat anything acid even though I don't feel acidic it causes alot of pain in my chest and back shoulder blades.  I had many x-rays over the years and they all showed nothing.  Went to the emergency room with severe chest pain sometimes up into my shoulders and down my arms.  It took them 2 1/2 years to finally run a CT scan of the chest (I am a smoker also for 20 years). I have bullous disease, blebs and nodules in the lungs.  I would constantly complain of chest pain with no results until my lung collapsed.  Now I still deal with the pain of the GERD and lungs.  It can be very painful.  I can appreciate what you are going through.  My only advice is that if it doesn't continue to get better you might consider asking for a CT of the chest instead of an xray.  It can also be done by contrast.  For Bob, I have done also construction work on my houses and rental properties and my biopsy came back with inhalation of a foreign substance.  An endoscopy is only a twilight sleep, which means that as soon as your done you are pretty much awake and functioning again providing you don't take pain meds or other meds that might make you more sleepy.  Worst case sceneario is that you go home and go back to bed for much deserved rest.  I wish you all the best of luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I had simular and the endoscope picked nothing up, then they gave me a barium and noticed i had Eosphagel spasms. This accounts for my burning sensation etc. Might be worth checking out if it may be that for some that have not had a barium done.
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Avatar_f_tn
Reflux and a hiatal hernia have been causing similar symptoms for me since Feb.  I've taken prilosec, protonix, pepcid, zantac, reglan.  Now I am trying nexium and baclofen.  The baclofen was prescribed to control chronic cough and hoarseness, but I am reluctant to take it because it makes me drowsy.  Does anyone else have the same trouble with baclofen?  Dr. also suggested repeating an endoscopy with a 48 hr. pH test.
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, Burning sensation in chest when I exercise was started.
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