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Avatar universal

Feels like I'm suffocating 24/7!! Been to multiple doctors and specialists, no answers.

Hi, I decided to start looking online for answers since the past 5 months of my life have been consumed with visiting various doctors and spending tons of money I don't have on procedures that have done NOTHING to help my condition. It started like I said, approx. 5 months ago...a tightness in my throat, feeling like I couldn't swallow or breath correctly. At first these sensations would come on for just a few hours at a time and wouldn't really effect my eating. Then about 3 months ago it escalated to the point I was gasping for breath, had severe pain/numbness in my right side all the way down to my finger tips, I thought I was dying and went to the ER. I was very disappointed that they found NOTHING and diagnosed it as a severe anxiety attack. I started taking Wellbutrin SR...I've yet to notice any difference whatsoever in my symptoms, if anything they have gotten worse. This constant feeling that I can't catch my breath or swallow is really driving me crazy and often does send me into panic attacks. I've already been to a enternologist and they did an endoscopy, all they found was a hiatal hernia. They prescribed prilosec to alleviate that, but since I've been on that...the symptoms continue to get worse. It feels like my throat forgot how to swallow, eating food is like a chore I only do it because I have to and then I'm absolutely miserable gagging/coughing/clearing my throat for hours after every meal. I might also add that I've been suffering from IBS symptoms for the past year as well...thats also been driving me crazy, I avoid any social activities and have had to take a break from college this semester because of that and the problem with my throat. Its mixed IBS, some days its constipation and some days diarhea...thats the worst because it will feel like I constantly have to use the bathroom and like I'm "leaking." I can't go on like this I really need some more insight! PLEASE HELP!
9 Responses
1478872 tn?1290440061
Hi Elliott!  

You could be having laryngospasms in which case you should go see an Ear Nose and Throat doctor to find out the cause and proper medications to take.  In my case, it was a inflamed polyp on my larynx that had to be removed in surgery.  It can also be caused by GERD or gastro reflux disease, etc.   You said you are having trouble when you eat and IBD, so digestion may be it, but you have to rule out obstructions and they'll do that with a tube to look down your throat.  It doesn't hurt.

Stess or panic makes the larynx close up more, which also happened to me, so the main thing is to relax and do slow breaths through the nose, out through your mouth, repeat and hold your chin up a little.  Be calm, be calm, keeping doing that until you can breathe well again.  You can look it up for further information, there may be other tips.  But get to the EN&T doctor.  I know it's frustrating to spend money ruling things out, but what is worse?  Not doing that and having something really bad happen?  

You could also be having more than one problem like I had.  Allergies, for instance?  Since this is such a frightening experience, anyone would be upset.  I know I was.  I was also misdiagnosed at first by someone else.  

If you are having an emergency go to the ER and don't delay.   They gave me an IV tranquilizer (not antidepressant) a steam w anti-inflammatories, a steroid and an antihistamine.  Then the doctor had me do that breathing technique,

I'll try to add some lifestyle tips in the next comment for you in a bit.  :)  
1478872 tn?1290440061
Correction:  It was a scope they used to look at my larynx that went through my nasal passage.  Bear with me, I had surgery the morning you posted this to remove the polyp and am home recovering  (was released after post-op, no complications during that)

Keep in mind that there can be several causes and treatments for this, so it's important to find out exactly what your problem is if that is what is happening to you.

When it happens, do not breathe in through your mouth, use your nose and breathe in slowly, exhale through slightly pursed lips, keep repeating.  Don't hyperventilate or suck in air through your throat, you must maintain control, calm and keep doing that.  Easy does it.  If eating, stop.    

1478872 tn?1290440061
Here are some other tips you can try or look up, you probably know some of it anyway, just throwing it out in case you didn't think of it.

Replace electrolytes lost from diarrhea w drinks like Gatorade, Smart Water, etc, but avoid energy drinks and a lot of caffeine.  Tea has less than coffee.  Peppermint tea is supposed to be good for throat, sinuses, stomach and irritable bowel, so try some of that if you're not allergic to it.   Not too hot.

For leakage, use mini or maxi pad liners, they will keep you fresh and clean and you can't see them through your clothes.  Change regularly and dispose in the trash, don't flush.  My husband used them, if you feel self conscious, purchase at the pharmacy counter.  Better than getting dirty or worrying about it, that's what they're for.  They have an adhesive and stick right to your pants, easy to use.  Make sure to get the size you need for the problem you're having or a variety.  If you need a lot of coverage, try Depends or another brand like that.  

If you need fiber, choose a brand like Benefiber that doesn't contain psyllium, which can thicken or swell in your throat or colon.  

Make sure to eat a healthy diet, you can eat smaller amounts more often, and choose foods that are good for whatever problem you are having.  If you are having a temporary problem swallowing regular food, try soups that have a clear broth for a base, like Chicken Noodle.  Creamy soups or dairy products can produce extra mucuous.    Avoid spicy food.  If you haven't been eating well, a liquid supplement with nutrients might be good.  

At night, a shower or bath really relaxes and can help you rest better.  The steam might be helpful.  Just washing up before sleep can refresh and calm, so does keeping a clean and clutter free environment.  Avoid personal and cleaning products with lots of additives, synthetic scents and chemicals.  So many available now that are natural and/or unscented.  Electrostatic dust rags work well and you don't have to use a spray with them.  A pillow and mattress cover that prevents dust mites might be good, too.  Wash bed clothing regularly and use unscented laundry detergent/fabric softener sheets.

1478872 tn?1290440061
If the medications you're taking aren't helping, then you need to do something about that but not on your own.  I'm not a doctor, but do know that some meds can interfere with others or can be dangerous to quit on your own without a doctor's supervision.  There are natural things you can do to control stress, too, and who wouldn't be stressed dealing with this?  Stress can make things worse even if it's not the source of the problem.  See the EN&T doctor and figure out the meds after you are diagnosed.  

Since hiatal hernia can also cause heartburn and heartburn can cause laryngospasms, you may need an alternative treatment or minor surgery which my mother is having soon, too.  She is getting a simple incision with a laporoscopy and won't have to spend time in the hospital.   Have you told the doctor who prescribed Prilosec it doesn't help?  Did he or she suggest something else?   If not, find a new one, imo.

Taking it step by step and doing good things for yourself will also give you a feeling of well being.  So can getting the right help for your needs.  

1478872 tn?1290440061
Once you get things fixed and under control, find an exercise routine for the future that isn't heavy or too aerobic.  Beginning yoga, walks or even gentle horseback riding can be great choices.  They are even prescribing horseback riding for soldiers returning from war with PTSD.  Yoga is good for stress, breathing, balancing your inner core and I do that to DVDs in the privacy of my own home.  Walking is, too.  

Don't worry about socializing right now, I've had times like that in my life and really turned them into something positive.  You can go to the library and get some good books that are enjoyable, inspiring, or self-helpful.  Learn something new or pick up a hobby.  You never know where that might lead.  

Daily affirmations, meditation and/or prayer can be calming and give you strength, relaxing music etc.  A lack of nutrients can also cause stress or depression, like B vitamins, D, etc.  So can a poor diet and you've been having trouble eating.

Use the time to improve your life in more ways than one.  There are plenty of people doing these same things for themselves.  Don't give up.  And if you don't like a doctor or a treatment isn't working, find a new one.  It's your life.  

I know a wrote a lot, was trying to cover some of the bases.  This is my first day here, not sure how to work this website, but I hope you see it and something helps. :))
1478872 tn?1290440061
PS I would say just get that hiatal hernia fixed but you are choking/spazzing in the throat.  Why an EN&T, may have an additional treatment, and sometimes we do have more than one thing going on.  You may also need an allergist if those two things don't do it all.  I take Claritin or Zyrtec, which my EN&T doctor said to continue.  I don't have intestinal problems or a hernia, but I have suffered from anxiety in the past.  Everyone is different.  
Avatar universal
I'm apologize for the very late response...unfortunately I haven't had internet for the past couple months and just got it back. I read through all of your responses and greatly appreciate it! I'm actually doing quite a bit better now...although the panic attacks to still seem to come occassionally, not near as bad though. Eating is still a little difficult....I'm really slow rather, I don't have so much trouble swallowing. Then again, I must admit I haven't made hardly any changes to my diet :/ Its very hard for me...
Avatar universal
I woke up one night and my chest felt like a vice was around it.  Felt like I was breathing through a straw and I had throat fullness and felt like something was in my throat.  Felt like I was going to pass out.  It turned out to be a large gas leak in the house.  After the gas leak was fixed, I still was very sensitive to car fumes, gas stoves.  Everyday for a couple of weeks, I would go through bouts of feeling like my throat was closing and feeling like I was breathing through a straw.  Finally it subsided.  Now, 2 years later, I have it again and its not a gas leak. Ears are full, throat feels full and when lying down, it gets worse.  It is very hard
1098245 tn?1292545210
I have CFS/Fibro, there are so many things that happens to a person with this illness. It can go into remission and then back again my first symptom was in 1984, life was a struggle but I thought everyones was too. I found out in 2007 it went deeper. for about a year, I would be watching TV and I would like choke on my own saliva seems as if my brain forgot to tell me to swallow, again like you thousands of dollars I dont have spent trying to see what is wrong with me.. sore troats, swollen neck nodes... no answers any Dr could give me.
IBS is one thing I have suffered from as well, I also recently got allergic asthma, which I had chest tightness for 2 days, went to the urgent care and got a breathing treatment and pain was gone in 15 min. I got my own nebulizer and prescription and it sure helps, even my dizzy spells and vertigo have gone when I use it, and I have suffered from it for over 2 years! I also saw on one of my CFS/FIBRO websites I read that one woman suffers from ENCEPHALITIS  LYMPHOMA, look it up and see if its sounds like what you have!! GOOD LUCK
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