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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

esophageal spasm?

I have been experiencing what I think is esophageal spasms. Symptoms are excessive spasmodic belching, discomfort in the center to upper chest area, almost like a knot. This becomes most pronounced during periods of stress.  I have been prescribed Prilosec which doesn't seem to relieve my symptoms. However, alprazolam at .5mg eases the feeling and it eventually goes away.  My question is then, is there such a thing as stress-induced spasm of the esophagus?
118 Responses
Avatar universal
Yes, mj, there is esophageal spasm.  This term refers to simultaneous contractions of esophageal muscle at several different levels so that the normal movement of food down the esophagus is impaired.  Symptoms can include chest pain (may simulate a heart attack) and difficulty swallowing solids and liquids (sensation of food sticking in esophagus).  Symptoms can be precipitated by drinking thermally hot or cold liquids e.g. coffee or ice tea.  Stress can also precipitate symptoms.

At present, there are no universally effective treatments.  Smooth muscle relaxants are often used but benefits are unpredictable.
Avatar universal
I have been to this board before with questions and comments about what my docs call "intractable belching."  I empathize with all who have had to deal with this or similar conditions.  Hoping that it will be of some use to others, below I outline what I have done to find a "cure" for this awful disease, whatever it is.

First of all, my symptoms:  there seems to be only one that actually bothers me, and that is the intractable belching. I have been experiencing this for 10 months. On "bad" days, which until recently occurred 3 or 4 days a week, I will belch 150 or more times a day.  There has been no discernable cause for this belching --- and as far as a "pattern", there seems to be none.  They just come when they want to.  On days that are not "bad," I still will belch 40-50 times a day.  The belching comes and goes almost randomly;  I will belch 5-10 times a minute for 3 or 4 minutes, then nothing for 10 minutes, then 5-10 times a minute for 3 or 4 minutes. . . . and then after a while, nothing much for an hour or two.  Then the pattern returns.  The belching causes two very uncomfortable feelings:  (1) the esophogus, which is a muscle, or series of circular muscles, hurts, like any muscle that is over-exerted -- particularly since much of the belching is rather "vigorous";  and (2) the belching creates a feeling of semi-nauseousness.  I have only experienced an acid taste on a few occasions, although endoscopy indicated esophogitis and EMT (?) (esophogael motility test) and 24-hour ph probe indicated an abnormal amount of acid in my esophogus.  Again, however, I do not experience acid reflux like others have reported, and indeed the only surefire way to relieve the belching is to lay flat on my back.

[Before continuing with the chronology of my story -- again, for what it's worth -- let me share with you my understanding (based on what I have to estimate as better than a hundred hours of reading everything I can related to this topic) of the "mechanics" of belching.  I, too, seem to experience (perhaps half of the time) belching that results from esophogael spasms.  My reading suggests that these indeed may be spasms -- or simply the mechanics of a belch:  the esophogus, apparently, will contract when it feels gas/air pushing against the lower esophogael sphincter, as a way of opening the sphincter and releasing the gas/air;  this contraction, I believe, is what seems to be a spasm.  My experience is that the contraction seems to suck air into the esophogus, sometimes sounding like what I call a "pre-belch" belch;  the medical literature refers to this as a yo-yo type of mechanism, and apparantly the sucked-in air never even gets to the stomach, but just belches back up, and perhaps drags along the gas/air that is pushing against the lower sphincter from below.  At the same time, I myself have not dismissed the possibility that there is a neurological component at work here, a spasm;  and I guess I need to learn more about the vagus nerve that others have written about on this board.  A neurologist is the only specialist I have not yet seen for a diagnosis of this condition, but that will happen shortly.]

Before outlining my encounters with the traditional medical specialties regarding this condition, let me mention the alternative therapies I have tried:
          1.  chiropractic
          2.  therapeutic massage
          3.  hypnosis
          4.  biofeedback
          5.  acupuncture
None of the first four of these alternative therapies provided any help (although I would strongly recommend therapeutic massage just 'cause it feels good, and anyone looking for answers and encountering, as many of us have, uncaring and unprofessional physicians deserves this treat.

The jury is still out, so to speak, on acupuncture as far as I'm concerned.  I have made two visits to date.  After the first one, I was belch-free for four full days, which was the first time that had happened since the onset of the intractable belching.  My second visit wasn't as successful, but I am determined to continue with this approach (which really does require one to suspend judgement because, on the surface acupuncture has no immediate visible links to hard science) until it has had enough time to work, if it's going to work.

The tradition medical approaches I have used include:

1.  Family doc/internal medicine --- took some time for him to believe that this was something more serious than an embarassing social problem.  Blood tests revealed the presence of the Heliobacter Pylori antibody, meaning that at some time in my life the little bugger had been in my system.  Doc put me on a 14-day antibiotic regime to do away with the H Pylori, if in fact it was still in me.

2.  Upper GI test concluded there was nothing wrong with my upper GI tract.  

3.  Endoscopy.  Concluded, based on tissue samples, that there was no H Pylori in my esophogus or stomach.  But did make a finding of esophogitis and a hiatal hernia.  My question to several docs has been whether the belching could be related to the hiatal hernia, and their responses have been a resounding "no" --- upwards of 40 percent of adults have hiatal hernia and if they caused belching, they say, there would a lot more of us walking around with intractable belching.  Incidentally, the GI doc who did the endoscopy was absolutely the most unprofessional, uncaring, hard-of-hearing physician I have ever encountered --- more about him below because I'm wondering whether he, in fact, missed something when he stuck his tv camera down my throat.

4.  Cardiologist.  I am a 59 year old male who had a heart attack five years ago.  I have read somewhere in these medical websites that if one is having chest discomfort, you'd better make sure it's not your heart that's causing the discomfort.  I've noticed that quite a few people on this board experience heart arthmyias related to GI problems, although there seems to be nothing amiss with my heart at this time.

5.  Endocrinologist.  One or more of these medical websites also have suggested there could possibly be a link between intractable belching and thyroid malfunction.  I have been on medication for hypothyroidism for ten years, but a complete thyroid/blood test revealed that my thyroid is functioning within normal ranges.

6.  Gallbladder Ultrasound.  Revealed a completely normal gallbladder, which in the absence of any typical malfunctioning gallbladder pain was unlikely to be the culprit, but we checked it anyway.

7.  Gastrointestinal Specialist at a "leading national research hospital" -- name not to be revealed by me at this point, pending further reports from them.  Esophogael Motility Test and 24-hour ph test, as indicated above, were conducted -- revealing upper and lower esophogael sphincters working normally, but the "tone" of the esophogus was below-normal (that is, as I understand it, the esophogus itself exerts less pressure in moving food toward the stomach --- although I have never had, like many others here have, any trouble swallowing solids or liquids.)

As far as medications are concerned. . . .no over-the-counter drugs have helped one iota.  I've tried them all -- simethicone
based and calcium based. . .even some licorice-based health food store supplement.

I have been on Prilosec and Propulsid for a number of months.  At first, neither seemed to help at all.  I now believe they do probably help a little --- but it was 3-4 months before they seemed to do any good.  My suspicion is that whatever acid reflux I do have --- although it is strange that I don't "taste" any reflux, despite it apparently being there as evidenced by esophogitis and ph-test results --- is caused by the belching;  that is, when one belches as much as I have been, it is bound to suck some stomach acid up into the esophogus;  at least one of the specialists I have seen agrees that there is probably something to this analysis.

I am presently in the midst (one week along) of an experimental self-treatment.  Thirty years ago I was hospitalized with a duodonal ulcer, and the treatment then included the blandest of diets:   soft-boiled eggs, cream of wheat, half-and-half (and Maalox) for two solid weeks.  I know that ulcers are now blamed on the Heliobacter Pylori bacteria, but I decided to try the diet, minus the Maalox, from 30 years ago.  After 3 days on the diet, my intractable belching disappeared by a factor of 98 percent !!!!   It's just been 4 days of this relief, and the bad belching may return in a day or two.  If the relief continues, however, I will need to figure out "what next".  Obviously, one can't spend the rest of his life eating soft-boiled eggs and cream of wheat.  Also, I will have to have answered the question, why is this "diet" working?  Do I have an ulcer that the endoscopy missed?  Is H Pylori still present in me?  Or some other bacteria or fungal organism?  Incidentally, as far as this "diet" is concerned, it is not as low-fat as I normally eat, so fat does not seem to be the "answer."

One last comment and then I'll call it quits on this very long note.  I've read many physician comments that blame this belching on "swallowing air."  I, like many others who have written on this board, find it hard to believe that this is the best diagnosis they can come up with.  I asked the jerk who did the endoscopy on me when he told me my problem was that I was swallowing air, "Why after 59 years do you think I started swallowing air?"  His answer:  "It just happens."  Dahhh.  A number of different sources suggest avoiding sucking on straws, sucking on lolly pops, eating fast, talking and eating at the same time, etc.  Other sources suggest that changes in diet lead to excessive belching.  My own diagnosis leads me to conclude that since I don't suck on lollipops or straws, and I don't chew gum or eat fast or talk & eat, and when this problem first presented itself I had not changed my diet in any significant way, that the answer to my problem lies elsewhere.  I just wish that some of the so-called professionals I have seen would be a little more caring, listen more carefully, and be a lot more competent.

I hope some of this will be of help to other sufferers out there.

If my "new diet" continues to provide relief, I will report that back here, and hope that it might give others some idea of how they might be able to cure their belching problems.  God bless.





Avatar universal
Hi, your posting was most thorough and helpful and reminded me of my own efforts to get help. Holding a pencil  between my teeth was suggested at one point, with no thoughts of how you exist in the world and do that!
In the last year I have found something that improves but doesn't fix my problem, but I am so grateful for some relief that I mention it here.
I was aware that some foods and drinks worsened my problem. I also get arrhythmias and what were called panic attacks, but were always food related. I have now been using a combination of low dose aspirin and a multivitamin with minerals including molybdenum. I did this on the basis that there might be a connection with sulfites, which convert to sulphur dioxide in the  gut, and my symptoms. My symptoms are reduced enormously. From having attacks of 150 beats a minute lasting for some time, I now  get attacks less often, and just over 100 beats. I would love to get rid of it altogether, and stop the short runs of arrhythmia which are so uncomfortable, but believe me, as you know, any relief is wonderful.Good luck in your search. I had the esophageal testing...it is such an ugly experience, isn't it?

Avatar universal
I also have some questions. I think I'm having esophogeal spasms.  I'm a healthy 32 y.o. woman and am awoken from sleep with intense spasmodic pain in my chest that radiates to my back.  It feels exactly like I've swollowed something large and it's stuck in my esophagus, even though I haven't eaten for 10 hours or more.  My pain isn't constant though, I have a spasm every 5 seconds for awhile, then every 10 seconds, then every 15 seconds, and it goes like that for about an hour until it's gone.  The spasms are so painful, they take my breath away.  Does this pain pattern fit the diagnosis?  It always happens between 3 and 5 am and always wakes me up from sleep.  Never happens when I'm awake.
Avatar universal
In one word, YES. The esophagus is a simply a muscle. The esophagus though a simple muscle, is involved with very complex actions brought about thru the central nervous system.
The influence of other muscles within the neck, throat, chest,
abdomen, upper back, etc. is profound and clearly requires  precise coordination to maintain health.

The term " Globus Sensation" or " Globus Histericus", (G.H.)  describes the sensation of something in the throat or upper chest. "Feels like a tennis ball in my throat", " feels like my wind pipe's closing". Globus Histericus? Sometimes, not everytime.

The quickest and least invasive diagnostic procedure might be a 6 to 10 week trial with an antidepresant. Alprazolam may offer some short term reduction in symptoms but a true " Globus H." will require a drug such as Zolof or Prozac. Rapid reduction in symptoms after 2 or more weeks may be diagnostic. The treatment of G.H. may require 6 months to 1 year of continued antidepresant therapy.

There are many benign and destructive reasons for the above described symptoms. One of those could be G.H., and is quite treatable. The history is most often very telling.
Avatar universal
my GOD kathy you just described my proble for 10 years,, though i lived through all the spasms i nknew going to the doctor would be more medicine.. the pain in the back is none stop.. muscel relaxers are my best answer ... but to know others have this let's me at peace of not being crazy.. using my back and stomach sets this off everytime... so i do not sweep or mop or vacume sounds like being lazy but it helps the pain.. thanks for all the input
Avatar universal
FOR SERVERAL MONTHS I HAVE SUFFERED WITH A FEELING OF SOMETHING STUCK IN MY THROAT ( ABOUT THE SIZE OF AN ASPRIN)  AFTER HAVING ALL KINDS OF TESTING THEY NOW TELL ME THAT I HAVE ACID REFLUX
I NEVER SEAM TO SUFFER FROM "HEARTBURN" SO TO SPEAK I DO BELCH ALOT BUT THE DOCTORS DIDN'T SEAM TO THINK THAT HAD ANY BEARING ON MY COMPLAINTS.  I TWO SUFFER FROM THE SEVERE PAIN IN THE CHEST, RIB CAGE, SHOULDER BLADES, I ALSO SUFFER FROM PANIC ATTACKS NOW-I ALWAYS SEAM TO BE STRUGGLING FOR A DEEP BREATH-I WAS TOLD THIS IS ANXIETY ATTACKS-SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS.  I WAS GIVEN PREVECID AND ZANTAC - I'VE ONLY BEEN ON THIS FOR 4DAYS AND I WONDER IF ANYONE ELSE HAS EXPERIENCED THIS AWFUL ILLNESS.
Avatar universal
Hi B., it's Reyna again.  I guess they set a space limit on blabbermouths!  I had no idea I had written so much.  I was almost done, though.  I just wanted to tell you that I really wish you well, not only with your anxiety, but any other medical problems you  may have.  If there is anything else I may be able to help you with, please let me know.  You can contact me here -- if you want my e-mail address, just say so.  Plus, if you're interested, I can explain some breathing exercizes that will help -- they won't necessarily make it easier to catch your breath, but they will put your breathing under your control and at the proper rate, which will take your anxiety down.  (If I can remember them, that is!)  God bless.
Avatar universal
Hi, This is in response to B. Hobbs.  I happened to be at this site because I've been experiencing some major malfunctioning of my upper digestive tract (tentative diagnosis is esophagitis).  B., when I saw your posting, I had to answer you.  I don't really have any info. for you on your digestive problems, but I did want to give you some input on your anxiety, your struggle to catch your breath in particular.  I was diagnosed with panic disorder about ten years ago, and the difficulty I had getting a deep breath was the first symptom I noticed.  It's like one day I woke up and I just couldn't breathe right any more.  My rythmn was all off, and I could no longer catch that deep breath.  I became hyper-aware of my breathing, and it started driving me crazy.  I also started feeling like I was smothering -- literally, like someone was holding a pillow over my face and I was trying to breathe through it.  This made me struggle for breath even more, even further screwing up the situation (though I didn't know that was what was happening at the time).  After a couple of weeks of this, the frustration was unbearable, and it was then that I began having major panic attacks, which set off a whole avalanche of other horrible and frightening symptoms.  Thus began my super-long quest for help, going from one jerk of a dr. who thought I was nuts to another.  Finally I found one who knew what was happening to me, and he literally saved my life, as I felt that, although I didn't want to die, if this was what the quality of my life was going to be, I'd rather just say thanks, but no thanks.  I couldn't stand it, and I planned to kill myself.  The doc. took me off all the junk that had thus far been prescribed (including anti-psychotics -- tells you just what these other docs thought of me, eh?), and put me on 50 mg. of Doxepin at bedtime (it really knocks you out, and I definitely was in need of some sleep by this time -- plus I was in dire need of the anti-depressant effect as well), plus four mg. of Xanax spaced throughout the day.  He also recommended the books written by Claire Weekes, and the result of my reading and the meds. was a true miracle.  As time passed, I got my life back.  As I said, this was ten years ago.  There are times when I still have trouble, and I'll go back on medication for awhile, but thanks to greatly increased understanding and the loss of fear of the symptoms (even though I still hate them), I have gone for tremendous periods of time with no medication at all.
I don't know the extent of your medical problem, but anxiety will mess up anyone's breathing.  I used to know all the technical reasons, but it has something to do with hyperventilation changing the ph levels in the blood.  It's a vicious circle, because the more anxious you are, the faster your breathing becomes, but rather than helping, it makes things worse, and you develop a condition called "air hunger," where you really do feel like you're suffocating, and so struggle all the more.  In addition, the tension in your body causes all your muscles -- including the muscles in your chest -- to clench up, and this not only makes it harder to expand your lungs, it will cause your chest to get sore and ache.  I remember just wishing I could go back to the time in my life when I just breathed and didn't think -- I should say obsess -- about it.  But it's really hard when you can't catch that deep breath.  Out of all the absolutely horrible things I experienced (it's amazing what excessive anxiety can do to your body -- which in turn creates more anxiety), I think that the difficulty breathing was the worst, and that's why I wanted to write to you.  I've been there.  And guess what?  It does get better!  Some people can do it on their own, but I couldn't -- I really needed the medication to break the panic-symptom-panic cycle.  Once I started getting some sleep and my body started calming down and returning to normal, so did my breathing.  It did take time, but eventually, I got to the point where I never had to struggle for breath, and finally, to where I was able to forget about it again.  About 90% of the time now, I just breathe, have no trouble catching my breath, and never even think of it.  On the occasion I do get anxious, I don't let my breathing freak me out -- I know it will eventually return to normal.  But even ten years later, when my breath comes and catches easily, I still say to myself, "Thank you, God," because I well remember how terrible it was when it didn't.  If anxiety is a significant problem for you, I highly recommend checking with your dr. about giving Xanax a try, and also the following books:  HOPE AND HELP FOR YOUR NERVES and PEACE FROM NERVOUS SUFFERING by Claire Weekes, and THE ANXIETY DISEASE by David Sheehan.  These books will help so much to increase your understanding of what's going on with your body, and the understanding will really help lessen your fear, which will help your body relax and return to its normal state (another cycle, but this time a positive one).  Plus, you will feel understood and hopeful, and will be comforted in knowing you are not alone, and you will get better.
Avatar universal
I have been diagnosedwith "nutcracker esophagus".  Can anyone help me with finding out more information on this disorder.  I would really appreciate it.  Thanks
Avatar universal
This message is to Reyna-Thanks for the help. Its nice to know that someone understands.  I went to the dr. on Sat. now he has put me on hormone replacement therpy.  Sure hope this works!  The breathing doesn't bother me when sleeping only when I'm awake (aware).  I hate the feeling of choking, it feels like the throat is closing up.  Is this anxiety?  I have also found that when I visit the chiropractor and get adjusted I can BREATHE!!!! But it only last for a very short period of time, I can actually feel the blood flow again.  My chiropractor finds that interesting.  Sometimes the breathing doesn't bother me at all-if I'm busy and not thinking about it I'm fine but as soon as I discover that I haven't  been having trouble I'm right back to the beginning.  I notice that I tend to clear my throat all the time as though something is in it or I will pop my ears (like when on an airplane) just to get a deep breathe. I also noticed that it is worse when I'm driving in morning traffic.  I tend to get very dizzy and it feels like my throat is closing and I can't get enough air is this anxiety or panic.  Any help you have is most appriciated.  I'm so very tired of living like this.  I did suffer from this once before about 17 years ago and if my memory serves me correctly it took about a year to get over it.  Thanks again and I hope things are well for you.
Avatar universal
Dear B. -- I posted a nice long reply (which was difficult, as I was being constantly interrupted by my fighting kids) -- well, I don't know whether I screwed up or the computer did, but the next thing I knew, the entire message had disappeared (teeth grinding time).  I can't stay on right now, I have to make sure my kids don't kill each other, but I wanted you to know I did write back, & will do so again ASAP.  Reyna
Avatar universal
After reading this board I dont feel so crazy anymore.  One night back in March of 1999, I thought I was having a HEartattack.  Arms Knumb, Something stuck in my throat and difficulty breathing.  I went to the Doctor the next day to be told I have acid reflux.  For months they had me on Prilosec. I would have good days and bad till my interal Doc sent me to a specialist. At this point everyting seemed to be stuck in my throat and had yet to experience burning. This spec. ordered a endoscopy.  Endoscopy was normal, Upper Gi showed mild reflux, Gall bladder tests show'd functioning normall. The Gallbladder Die test gave me excrusiating pains in my lower abs, did anyone else experience this, and what did the Doc say about it?? All Docs have been asking me if I'm depresses?? Depressed they say the only thing that is depressing me is that I have been SUFFERING for almost a year now with no relief.  A cat scan recently done of my abdomen showed that my stomach does not drain.  Doc put me on Propulsid, only been on it a few days, I feel a little relief.  Does this story sound familiar to anyone, anything my Doctors or myself could be missing I just want ot be myself again.  IN 9 months I have gone from a size 8 to a size 4, my 4's are now falling off of me.(it's been about 30 pounds). Anyone know the best place I could go for a second opinion??
Avatar universal
Hi Reyna,  Thanks for taking the time to respond-I was once in your shoes with the fighting kids!!  Mine are grown now they don't seem to fight as much but there are other things!  Well I've decided to go to a Hypnotist on Monday, they say they can relieve stress-well I know its a long shot but its better than taking these meds as they don't seem to be relieving these feelings.  I'm so tired of this I really feel that I may have a chemical imbalance and my dr. says NO.  I know my dad had an imbalance and they treated him with libruim.  My Dr. wants me to go talk to a theropist I just can't see spending that kind of money week after week when maybe just maybe the hypnotist will do the trick!  Have you ever heard of anyone doing this?  Please let me know.  

Avatar universal
B., it's Reyna.  I am so disgusted I could scream.  Once again I wrote back to you, and once again my answer just disappeared into the ether when I clicked on "submit."  So I will keep this very short until we are able to find out what is wrong with this darn computer (or until we find out what we're doing wrong.  My husband fiddled with it for over an hour last night & can't figure it out, but then, we're not exactly computer experts, either).  Choking, chest pain, DIZZINESS definite symptoms of anxiety (of course, could be something else, too).  Chiropractic is great; keep going if you can afford it & it seems to help.  I see no reason not to give the hypnotism a try.  Unless you have a bottomless pit full of money, if you're not entirely comfortable, I don't know about the psychotherapy.  Is there any possibility your dr. just wants to hand you over to somebody else because he/she doesn't know what to do with you and/or thinks your problems are all in your head?  I've been down that road, so it makes me suspicious.  Why the h.r. therapy?  Good luck, let me know how you are, & I'll get back to you again as soon as I can.  All the best to everyone out there that's suffering, lots of people care & wish they could do more to help.
Reyna



Avatar universal
My problem is definitely different from the others I previewed.  I am in remission from lung cancer and during the treatments I received radiation which left scar tissue on my left lung and esophagus.  I now have spasms which have not allowed me to breath.  I get to the point of passing out and then as I sit on the floor and try to relax, little by little I can get a small amount of air and then return to normal in about 5 to 15 minutes.  There is no advance notice of the spasm, at first they came during the nite and now there is no "chosen" time.  I am going to get in touch with a gastroendocrimologist tomorrow,because it has gotten to the point of real fear.  The lung doctor gave me some medication that was supposed to help with acid reflux, but now it does not seem to be enough.  

Hope someone can give me some suggestions.

Thanks
Avatar universal
Oh the pain and discomfort in my chest and back from esophgeal spasms! As I sit writing this, my back is hurting (upper) and my stomach is making noises that could be heard in the other room. I had tears of reflux which turned into Barretts and I still suffer even though Prilosec has the reflux (acid) under control. It's just nice to know that I am not the only one experiencing all these irratating, worrysome symptoms.
Patricia
Avatar universal
Hi Reyna, Its me B... Well the hypnotherapist was probably a big waste of money---unless my insurance will pick up the pyscotherpy.  It they don't I won't be able to continue.  I also went for message therepy  on Friday it was GREAT!  IF I could only stay relaxed like that--got home, showered and fell off to sleep on the couch-slept right through dinner.  I'm returning tonight for my message this could be addicting!!!!!!  Well hope everyone out there is finding some relief.  My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Avatar universal
I have what sounds like the same symtoms. I recently had a upper G.I.. Everything came back normal. How is this diagnosed? What kind of tests need to be done? I am very anxious to get some feed back. Is it stess related?
Avatar universal
I've had a similar problem for the last 6 years.  It started out as VERY occasional (every few months) but progressed to every few days.  I'd get the feeling of food rising back up my esophagus about to the level of my Adam's apple.  At first I though it was just stress, or what foods I was eating or how fast I ate, but not much of that seemed to make any difference.  It got so bad that it usually made me vomit.  I went to a Family Practice doc at a World Famous Medical Center where I was working at the time, did a barium swallow, and was told I had a hiatial hernia, was given a perscription for Zantac, told to cut down on caffene, and that was that.  It provided some relief, but I still experienced episodes every few weeks.  I have since quit taking the Zantac and am still experiencing the problem.  Meat and fast eating do seem to bring the episodes on, but sometimes I can just be drinking something and it will happen (though usually not as severe).
Is this something normally assiociated with hiatial hernia, or might I have something else wrong?
Avatar universal
Looks like I'm in the right site.I've had "gastritis" for 5 years now. I was on Prilosec for about 8 months at first. It relieved heartburn-like symptoms, but that was the least of my discomfort. Mostly, I have terrible gas, spasms and pain in my entire abdominal area, centering around the duodenum . An endoscopy revealed a hiatal hernia and some minor esophagitis, but didn't account for the degree of discomfort.  Eventually, I went off Prilosec and stayed off for 3-4 years. I never lost the symptoms, but it didn't seem to make much difference when I went off Prisolec. Symptoms vary from mild discomfort to unbearable. Feels like a cattle prod to the duodenum.  Stress does seem to exacerbate the problem. However, there are times when I'm totally not stressed and I still have the symptoms. Recently, the symptoms became more severe and I developed higher spasms that may be esophogeal. I get them if I sniff in hard, (which suggests that it might be my diaphragm.), when I move suddently. or sit down hard.   I'm  on Prilosec again, but I don't think it's helping very much.  This is all terribly uncomfortable. Any suggestions?
Avatar universal
A few notes for those suffering from esophogeal disorders. I was diagnosed with diffuse esophogeal spasm about 6 years ago. It began suddenly one night -- a heart attack like event. The family doctor and GI specialist ran many tests, but I stumped them all for about 2 years. An expert at a major research hospital finally diagnosed it after 2 days of testing. The issue was compounded by rapid stomach emptying. The solutions were diltiazem (smooth muscle relaxant used for high blood pressure, but with some side effects worth considering) for the spasms, and apple pectin (health food store tablets) for the fast food problem. After about 3 months, it took effect, and both spasms and a long-time problem with irratable bowel went away. I have problems rarely now. So, be encouraged.

I now have an unusual related phenonomenon. On most days in the mid-morning, I experience an acid taste in my mouth, accompanied by facial sweating. The sweating is as if I had eaten very spicy food. The over the counter pepcids, etc. have some effect. Any thoughts about the vagal nerve connection with the facial sweating. It has stumped all of the physicians and the naturopath.

Best wishes.
Mark
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Seems to be quite a few of us with esophageal disorders. Anybody know of a support group, website or bulletin board for this? Any of you interested in setting one up so we can exchange info on treatment: what works and what doesn't?  Judging from the responses to this one question there would be no shortage of willing participants.  Have browsed the archives and numerous queries there also re; esophageal disorders.  After 4-5 years of progressively worsening symptoms would seem that esophageal dismotility is my problem.  Would like to be in touch with others suffering in same area. My email is;
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Avatar universal
I've recently had my gallbladder removed ( Dec. 10 ) for something called a "strawberry gallbladder". They found 3 stones and lots of what the Dr. called sandy/gravel-like bits that are supposed to eventually clear themselves out. The problem is I still get some very intense waves/spasms of what feels like a shot of adrenalin or something. They seem to come and go quickly and randomly and occur around the sternum area. It almost feels like my heart is stopping or something. I really notice it if I bend over or turn my body a certain way or even breathing sometimes. It's NOT anxiety and that I'm positive about. The Dr. says its cardial spasm? I too, like so many of you have been told this is all in my head and his advice to me was to "get on with it". I am very concerned and fear for my life as I have been dealing with this for over a year now. It's starting to get worse and more intense than ever. I know my body and I know this isn't in my head. I had to beg for the test that diagnosed my gallbladder problem.
I wonder about my bile ducts and pancreas? This is so depressing to me and I'm starting to wonder when and if I'll get my life back. I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions. Thank-you.
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