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Avatar universal

GERD or related - chronic nausea and episodes

I've had chronic stomach problems since I was 5 years old. But they seem to evolve and change as I get older.
For the past year or two, I've been having episodes where I wake up in the middle of the night shivering and freezing and feeling sick. About the time I fully wake up, I have to make a run for the bathroom to vomit. Occasionally this happens just BEFORE I get to sleep. And sometimes I don't actually vomit, I just feel really sick to my stomach. It's a combination of burning and nausea in my stomach (not intestines. def stomach.) I've found that if I sit up and wake up it clears up. If I doze off at all it gets worse even if I'm still sitting upright.
Besides this, I had times where it was difficult to eat without feelings sick. I often feel sick before I feel full and I have a hard time keeping weight on. I also have almost constant heart burn and whatever I eat or drink comes back up my esophagus for a while before settling.
I explained all of this to my gastroenterologist and he did an endoscopy and blood tests to look for any scar tissue, damage, and for celiac or chrones.
I was prescribed Prilosec and diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) because the Prilosec worked. I take the Prilosec religiously and it helped for a long time. I was able to eat better, the episodes have been greatly reduced, and I gained about 5 lbs.

My long distance boyfriend came to visit the week before last. My stomach flared up due to nerves and I was sick the whole day before picking him up from the airport. I was curled up in a chair shivering and dozing off until I finally vomited and felt pretty much better after. I still had slight nausea the entire time he was visiting and I had an episode just before taking him to the airport to go home which scared him pretty bad.
Since he left, I've barely been able to tolerate food and have been eating in small amounts. I feel almost constantly queazy and keep getting random flare ups. It is still accompanied by burning in my stomach and esophagus.
I've had a really hard time sleeping. I'm afraid to sleep when my stomach is upset because that usually leads to waking up vomiting. When I do get to sleep, I sleep 4 to 6 hours (my normal is 10 or 11 hours) and feel sick to my stomach and cold. Drinking water and taking a hot bath seems to calm it down some but the Prilosec isn't doing the trick anymore.
My doctor prescribed me Dicyclomine which is a smooth muscle relaxant/anti-spasmodic. After taking this, I woke up with pain radiating through my stomach, esophagus, chest, and left shoulder until I drank a lot of water.
Taking Gaviscon seems to help a little bit but still not enough.
I've considered trying an anxiolytic like Lorazepam (Ativan) to treat the anxiety and nervous feelings that seem to have triggered this recent change in my condition. Would this be a good idea or something I should try?
Does anyone have any ideas what this could be? Is it still just GERD or is there something more going on? What could I take to fix it and get some relief? I plan on moving out on my own in a year and living with my boyfriend and I don't know how I'll hold down a job and handle the stress and anxiety with my stomach like this. Help?
If it's of any interest, I am female, 18 years old, 5 feet 0 inches tall, and 90 lbs.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Gah I could really use some help here. I'd rather the topic not fall off the page either.
Avatar universal
Well it certainly sounds like your going through a turbulent period with GERD.  I too was just diagnosed with GERD.  I am now in my 30s but I've likely had it since your age.  Nerves and anxiety can ABSOLUTELY exacerbate GERD symptoms--no doubt.  Sometimes the symptoms of GERD can manifest differently in people.  I get pain in my back with GERD which does happen to some people even though it's not one of the more commonly reported symptoms.  GERD could certainly cause some of those symptoms you are having.  Sometimes shivering/feeling cold is the body's autonomic nervous system response to sickness or stress.  Are you sure your weight is within the normal range?  Sometimes when we don't have enough body fat or are not getting enough calories and nutrients, the body feels cold and starts to shiver in an effort to generate heat, but this doesn't seem quite as likely as all of this seems to be related to this GERD situation.  It sounds like your symptoms aren't being effectively treated with any one medication at the moment.  Maybe you need to talk to your doctor about combining a couple of different medications.  You mentioned Gaviscon helps a little.  Maybe there are a couple different ones you can combine together.  
      Well, the fact that you have already had an edoscopy that didn't reveal anything awful is very reassuring.    Sometimes there are certain bacteria such as H. Pylori which can be present and contribute to problem.  There are also certain motility disorders of the esophagus such as problems with the functioning of the lower sphincter which is the gateway from the esophagus to the stomach.  If it does not function properly or close tighly, acid keeps backing up and "lays" in the esophagus causing that burning feeling.  Most people with GERD have this occur even though your Gastro doc many not have explained so specifically.  Many people claim that GERD is particularly bad at night because of this malfunctioning of the esophageal sphincter.  In the meantime, have you tried elevating your bed 6 inches?  All of people claim that helps.  Just proping up extra pillows won't help as it is the angle of your body that is important.   Anxiety plays games with our body in ways we don't offen realize and reducing that may prove very helpful to your situation.  Good luck!
    You have one important factor going for you---age.  If you can catch this now and get a handle on it, you are going to prevent a whole host of potentially more serious esophageal problems later down the road.   Even the most severe symptoms of GERD can be effectively treated so you WILL be okay eventually if you speak to your doctor about this again.  
Avatar universal
Hey, I have literally the exact same issue........ What really helps me is acv (Apple Cider Vinegar). Two table spoons (with lots of water) in the morning and Two with water at night.  Don't get the regular brand ACV, get only the organic, no preservative added ACV with "mother". It really helps me alot.  Also try rabeprazole as a medication. Also helps.  For the shaking the best option is a hot shower.  Sleep on your left side this will help.
Avatar universal
Hey, I have literally the exact same issue........ What really helps me is acv (Apple Cider Vinegar). Two table spoons (with lots of water) in the morning and Two with water at night.  Don't get the regular brand ACV, get only the organic, no preservative added ACV with "mother". It really helps me alot.  Also try rabeprazole as a medication. Also helps.  For the shaking the best option is a hot shower.  Sleep on your left side this will help.
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