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1539379 tn?1294335715

Chronic Gastritis or Heart Problem?

If you'd like to skip the novel of symptoms and my story, feel free, my question is in the last paragraph...thanks for any advice/help offered.

I'm heading to another doctor on wednesday - this time a psychiatrist - because I believe I've been dealing with anxiety and depression for a long time now (almost 3 months of symptoms that have no cause).  The root cause of my anxiety is I constantly wonder if it's a heart attack or something worse.  I've been to literally 6 doctors, and no one can tell me what was wrong.  Here's a time line of my visits:

April '10 - Admitted to ER trouble breathing(really hyperventilating)/chest pain/numbness on my left side (let and arm)/aura in eyesight/headache - I was kept overnight (and they did an EKG and MRI).  MRI came back totally normal as did all the other tests..blood, ekg, etc.  They told me it was because of 'complex migraines'...which are like migraines only 10x worse, because they go beyond pain and affect things like motor skills and eyesight.

October '10 - Develop chronic diarrhea - Admitted to ER again when symptoms turn to nausea and VERY tingly face and feelings of unreality.  ER doc prescribes me xanax because he believes it's just diarrhea and another panic attack.  Started taking prilosec on and off.

Early November '10 - Readmitted to ER after going to urgent care.  Had severe stomach pains that kept me up all night (tried pepto, milanta, etc, and nothing worked), The pain also radiated over to my right side, over my liver.  Urgent care doctor examined my abdomen, and saw tenderness over my gall blader, so I was admitted and ultrasounds performed for gall stones.  All were negative.

November '10 -  Go to my GP, and tell him about all my symptoms...he tells me to drink an entire bottle of pepto all at once because I probably had some gi bug, and the toxin left behind by it are what's causing my intense pain, and the pepto would absorb that and help it pass.  Also to switch from taking prilosec to taking pepcid (because you can take pepcid 2x daily).

December '10 - Set up an appointment with a gastrologist.  He does his tests, says: "no alcohol, no cigars, no caffeine, very little sugar and stay away from stuff high in fats", and tells me to eat a bowel of fiber cereal to help with the diarrhea, along with some probiotics (which I've been doing for the last 3-4 weeks).  He also orders a bunch of tests due to trace amounts of blood in my stool (you know...the dreaded 'scopes').  So, I get an endoscopy and colonscopy.  I also have a bunch of other tests run:  blood tests, stool tests, etc.  Long story short...everything came back perfectly normal...no cancers, no ulcers, not even any parasites/bacteria (like h pylori) in my samples.  The only thing he found was evidence of gastritis in my stomach.

Long story short.  I've been following the regime given by my gastro doc.  I've been staying away for the most part from most of the "no's" (no alcohol, no cigars, no caffeine).  I've had maybe 1 diet coke a day, which I'm also going to cut out now, and I guess drink purely water.  I had 2-3 beers on New Years to celebrate, and a sip of a beer the other day (~3 oz).  Other than that...absolutely nothing.  

I've been posting like crazy in the anxiety forums on medhelp, because I think I have anxiety/panic attacks all the time.  The only thing that seems to make my stomach feel better is taking a xanax (which is an anti-anxiety med with muscle relaxant properties), and my stomach acts as a trigger for the downard spiral of anxiety that ensues.  When I'm on xanax is the only time I can say I have almost zero pain in my stomach.  I start to feel like I'm having a heart attack because the pain moves around a little bit. It's basically from the bottom of my sternum (and a bit to the left at the bottom of the sternum, up to mid sternum) - which I assume is stomach and esophagus. The severity of the pain can also change...most of the time is a dull pain that is just annoying, but other times, it can become more painful and be more burning.  Sometimes, I can get heart palpation from it - I don't know if it's because I zero in on the pain from my anxiety about not knowing what could be wrong and that causes it or what.  I start to freak when take a tums, and it really does no good.  It seems like I have a lot of gas (I burp all the time, even when I haven't eaten anything).  I've been following my doctor's advice. I've been on prilosec now for about a straight week, and before that off and on.  I try to avoid fat and caffeine.  I've tried elevating the head of my bed to prevent acid reflux, and get gravity working in my favor.  I take a regime every morning of probiotics, fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, and my fiber.  This doesn't seem to be getting any better.  What else can I do to help fix chronic gastritis?  I'm a 30 year old male, who's tried to stay in shape (in fact I'm exercising at least 3-4 times a week, and do yoga every day).  What are the other things I can do to get rid of this gastritis? I've heard of a liquid diet for 3 days to rest the stomach.  Should I be taking things like Tylenol since gastritis is an 'inflammatory' issue?  Any other advice?  This has been going on for close to 4 months now, and I'm sick of being sick all the time.  I truly believe its the root cause of my depression.  Thanks for caring and offering advice.
7 Responses
1539379 tn?1294335715
Anybody :(
Avatar universal
Homebrews, what specifically did the upper endoscopy report say? Not what your doc relayed to you  - the wording of the report.

You do realize that the stomach has more neurons than are found in the brain, and they both use the same neurotransmitters. So drugs that are used for the head can be very effective for the GI tract which is considered the 'second brain.' Anxiety is not uncommon in those that have GI issues. In fact, there's often a question of which comes first - anxiety or GI issues. But this is not all in your head. Many, many go through the same things you're experiencing.

Palpitations are often experienced in those with GERD, but there's a debate as to whether it's due to the GERD itself or the PPIs.

Havee you tried to track the foods you're eating to see if some of them are more gas-producing than others? It just might help.

Anyone in your family with any GI issues of any sort?
Avatar universal
Have you been tested for Celiac Disease.  Wouldn't hurt to ask doc to test you.  It's a simple blood test.  After test has been done...try to stop all gluten/wheat products from your diet.  Sound like alot of symptoms are Celiac.  Coworker told me about it, my doctor tested me, but that came out negative.  Mine was diabetes (brittle diabetic).  Now that I havee that under control its not that bad.   I still cut alot of the gluten out of my diet. Also, lactose has given me a hard time, so I limit my intake.  Good luck.
1539379 tn?1294335715
That's some interesting info about the GI tract...I didn't know if was considered the '2nd brain'.  What is GERD & PPI?  I'm not familiar with these acronyms?  My doctor was the same guy who did the actual endoscopy.  I never saw any report, save a letter he sent me, basically saying that all results from the endo & colonoscopies were normal, except for some inflamation of the stomach lining in the form of gastritis.  

Sandy,  I've been tested for Celiac and it came back negative.
1539379 tn?1294335715
As for my family history, my mom has some anxiety issues - I'm taking the 15week course from the midwest center, and in telling her all the symptoms and treatments I've tried over the last 2 weeks since starting, I think it's helped her more than its helped me, lol!  She was able to relate to a lot of the issues related to anxiety that I've been having.  I think both of my parents described to me that they have 'nervous stomach', which is probably the same thing that I have.  

As for the gas, I think it could be a side effect of the probiotics I've been taking, so I just recently switched from 'colon health' to 'align'.  Otherwise, I've cut a few things out of my diet.  Sugary foods like chocolate and candy, high fat foods (though not entirely), no caffeine, no beer (which gave me the worst gas), and I try to eat a lot of fiber and veggies/fruits whenever I can.  
1539379 tn?1294335715
I also looked up GERD and PPI.  Some of my symptoms seem consistent with GERD, and I have been on a PPI (prilosec) for over a week now.  The location of the pain is from mid sternum, clavicle high, goes straight down the full length of the sternum, and goes off to the left just a touch, though sometimes it can on rarer occasions radiate over to my liver.  I suppose this could point to costocondritis (which I would love to have, seems pretty harmless)?  
Avatar universal
I'm having similar issues but have controlled it a bit. Also went to the er room once, had heart attack symptoms. They told me its gastritis, second time I've been told that. My primary doctor told me months before but didn't have the heart attack symptoms when I seen me PD.

Here's what's helping me. Eat healthier foods. I cut out everything bad but occasionally do eat hamburgers tacos, u get my point. My mom found this info on a Spanish YouTube video, basically I wake up and get a water bottle and pour it from one cup to another 15 times ( I don't get this one but do it any way lol ). Here's the one I think is really helping. After waiting an hour I drink red cabbage that has been thur a blender and use a strainer to get rid of some of the pulp. I just add a little water and blend it and drink it. The video says to drink the juice but red cabbage has a lot of benefits and it is fiber so why throw all the pulp. I also have been drinking more water, maybe 3 bottles a day. Also before I wasn't a veggie person but today I did just also make a blended drink of carrots, and celery, and kiwi and drank it. Carrots and celery help cleanse the body, celery also reduces inflammation in the body.

Give my suggestion a try. I can't guarrantee it'll work but how I felt, its worth a try. Thankfully it has helped me and hope it can help you too.
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