For the past 15 years, I've had issues with my throat. I have been to 20+ doctors and they have all been stumped and gave up. They keep running out of answers and attributing it to reflux, but I don't think it's reflux at all. I believe it's my sinus / throat and abnormal mucus or nasal drip production. Here’s my summary:
Image of the area I'm describing:
Feeling of something similar to post nasal drip building up in the back of my throat, which causes me to want to gag. Most of the time I gag / cough it up I'm spitting out just clear liquid, not colored phlegm. Gagging it out a few times causes the occurrence to end quicker since it tends to either cause the liquid to either
1) drop down away from my upper throat / soft palate where the gag reflex is
2) clear out whatever substances in my throat that are causing it
It's very difficult to hold back on gagging it out, and talking while having this feeling causes me to gag even faster. I believe because of the gag, my stomach acid is going up and causing my red to swell up, which could be why doctors are misdiagnosing me.
Triggers, from most severe to least:
- Eating sweet stuff or drinking alcohol - within 5 minutes I start to feel this buildup in the back wall of my throat because of the lingering of the sweet substance. Ex: coffee (which I don't drink), soda, cake, anything sweet. A single gummy bear will make me gag like crazy in a few minutes.
- Eating oily / slimy foods - Ex. fried chicken burger has both fried chicken and mayo in it, so the severity of the reaction is worse than just eating the fried chicken patty by itself.
- Nervousness - when I am get nervous or too excited, like if I have to meet a person one on one or just really excited about a boxing match. Nerves combined with eating (like during a date) makes it really bad.
- Eating anything - around 10-15 minutes after I eat, I start to feel more and more discomfort in my throat as the presence of this clear liquid builds. I would say carbs have a larger reaction than meats. It varies based on what I’m eating. Even if it’s a salad with no dressing, I will still have a reaction
- Having a stuffy or runny nose.
- Having a sore throat
- Talking when I do have this buildup
- Randomly when my condition doesn’t feel good. E.g. waking up early with not enough sleep
Medication I've already tried:
- Prilosec, Nexium, basically every stomach pump inhibitor there is. Long term 3+ months, several times.
- Fluticasone propionate, saline nasal spray, and all sorts of nasal sprays. I’m on the first 2 now, and they have done nothing so far.
- Neck stretching exercises
Exams I've tried:
- Barium swallow - negative. I had trouble swallowing it because I eventually wanted to gag from it (it's slimy so it triggered my symptom)
- Endoscopy - negative.
- H Pylori test (blow in a bag) - positive. I took medication for 2 weeks, waited a month, then took the test again and was still positive. I am currently taking a 2nd round of medication for it but nothing has improved and I am almost at the end of the medication.
- Allergy test - negative. Just dust, cat dander, cockroaches.
- Food allergy test - negative. Just shrimp.
- The pharayngeal wall area is producing liquid, and this builds up with the passage of food into my esophagus. Depending on the food, either more or less is being produced. Regardless, it is always produced.
- I have a much higher gag reflex / sensitivity on oropharynx than the normal person
- I don’t think it’s reflux. It makes no sense that I have the same exact reaction when I have a stuffy nose in the winter, or that I am much “gaggier”. What does reflux have to do with eating 1 gummy bear? I am definitely not building an insane amount of acid from 1 gummy bear or even chewing gum.
- Nasal sprays haven’t worked.
- I think it’s something bacterial or hormonal.
- I have tried to blow out my nose after eating but nothing significant ever comes out. It’s like the production of this fluid is lower, right above my throat area.