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Stomach Bloating followed by Shortness of breath followed by Panic attack

I'm a 23 year old professional and I've had on/off problems with GERD since a long time. Only recently (last 2 years) I've been taking omeprazole 20mg to keep the GERD under control. I get reflux even if I miss a single does of Omeprazole. So I try to take it regularly. Inspite of that I've gas regularly and I belch several times after a meal...no matter what I eat and also release gas throughout the day.

Just last weekend the bloating in my stomach worsened, I tried to keep my diet light but to no avail. Just today when I was at work, I felt shortness in breathing and it felt that the gasses are trapped in my stomach and couldnt get them out. This worsened in the afternoon and it was really hard for me to keep my concentration on work. I felt like I was forgetting to breathe and i had to remember to take breaths. I started feeling a bit dizzy and my heart started pumping real fast. I think i was having a panic attack. What baffles me is that work was hardly stressful today.
Thats when I decided to just walk out of work. I came home and had a Ranitidine and that helped me bit. But the shortness of breath still remains.

About a year and half back i went to a gastroentrologist about my GERD, they did biopsy and test for allergy to gluten but nothing was found. The barium test showed a lot of reflux. Around then I was facing similar ailments like trouble sleeping, anemia which improved after sometime, and loss of appetite. But last one year had been clear for the most part except when I was stressful situations like interviews, etc. But they were few and far fetched.

I really dont understand if it's the stresss that's triggering these symptoms or if it's the bloating that's triggering the shortness of breath and hence the stress.

Can anyone help with finding the cause of this and what I can do for it to impact my work life minimally.
7 Responses
Avatar universal
Hey just read your post and am feeling the same symptoms as you, I believe the root of our symptoms are from the stomach. It is very easy to panic with these sensations but you have to remember they are not life threatening. I have had these symptoms for four years and am still around. I just recentely realized that my stomach is causing the shortness of breath, radiating heart attack type symptoms to my chest resulting in the feeling of anxiety. You have to stop trying to breath and let your body do the work, breathing is an involuntary action the more you try to force your breath the more your going to feel like ****. I have been to cardiologists, asthma clinics, etc, they all say its anxiety. I realised that most of them dont know ****. I have occassional anxiety brought on by these symptoms. You have to learn to stay calm advocate for yourself, go to a different Doctor, talk with people who are going through this similar problem. I have my first Gastro appt soon, I'll seee what they say. E-mail me if you get any answers for yourself or want to talk about your issue. I dont know if I will find this exact forum again. ***@****
Avatar universal
I know what your going through. About 3 years ago I used to drink and smoke alot,and I didnt eat very good, always eating out at fast food restaurants. then one day everytime I had a cigarrette or a drink, my heart rate would go up and beat really hard. not long after that it started to happen after I ate, I checked my blood pressure and it was quite a bit too high. I found that sodium seemed to be the cause and I thought that I was just super sensitive to salt, so I quit smoking completely and quit drinking for the most part, any more than 2 beers or so would make my symptoms act up, i also went on a completely healthy  diet, cutting out anything with alot of sodium and eating mostly veggies and lean meat, this worked ok but it still didnt solve my problem, I could never eat untill I was full or my symptoms would act up,  I was only 22 when this started so it was really odd to think I had heart attack risks, and I also thought it might be that my kidneys were having trouble filtering out the salt I ate causing it to build up....

About 2 months ago months my wife was talking to somebody at work and she described her syptoms, and they were exactly the same as mine, it turns out she had acid reflux, so as soon as I heard that i did some research on the net and found out that I also have acid reflux,

Im not  really a fan of taking any kind of medication, so I looked for a natural way to help acid reflux
I found out If I take 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar every day and a little bit sometimes before I eat it pretty much alleviates my syptoms, at least  enough so that I barely notice, which is awesome after being scared to eat for 3 years! :0. I guess it balances the PH in your stomach so it has enough acid to fully digest your food the way its supposed to, and for me its way better than taking a drug.

What gmako7426 said about anxiety is exactly true,
I also realised that anxiety plays a big part in it, Im a nervous person to begin with, so alot of time when it would act up I would start thinking about all the things that  could be wrong with me and freak myself out and that never helped anything

anyways, just thought id put my 2 cents in :)
Avatar universal
I've had these on and off for over 40 years now. I've narrowed it down to bloating SOMEHOW causing the anxiety/panic attacks. It even sometimes comes on gradually. I start brooding over something, then worrying about it, then panicking about it, teeth chattering, legs locking, hard to hold a coherent thought! The whole fight or flight response. I try to burp, and to my surprise, I had a lot of gas in my stomach, with NO symptoms of it. I take a simethicone tablet and within 30 minutes I'm back to normal, and the problem I was panicked about is back in it's proper perspective. Obviously, most doctors thought the anxiety caused the stomach upset, not the other way around. I really don't think an anti-gas tab would help anxiety attacks, if the gas wasn't the cause in the FIRST place. I doubt it's a placebo effect either. I NEVER really expect it to work. It ALWAYS does. Now if I start getting cranky, I check if I can burp, if I have gas, pop a tab, and am feeling normal/ better mood within a half hour... And, no, for me, I can't really burp much, if I don't have gas... By the way, the 'fun' attacks are the night panic attacks, when they wake you up from sleep panicking! [And, no, I wasn't worrying about anything when I went to bed...] Now I just focus on the causes of the BLOATING/gas and as I got a handle on that, the attacks dropped off accordingly...

CONCLUSION: Panic attacks can be caused by bloating...

Hope this helps some looking for answers and getting nowhere...
Hey there,  what tabs did you take.. I've been trying to tell my gp, psychiatrist,  councellors that in sure my panic attacks are not caused by my mind..  I'm so sure is to do with my tummy!!!  They still say the bloating,  knit in tummy, running to the loo are symptoms of anxiety but I think it's the other way around!!! Are you avoiding certain foods??  Thanks so much
Avatar universal
If anyone wants to know the solution buy Acticol its a coal pill, black pill, since i started taking these all these symptoms are gone, exactly whats happening to you guys happened to me. try eating yoghurt, salads, ginger ale and acticol at least try it for a week and you will come here and thank me . here is my email if you needed more assistance : ***@****
Avatar universal
were u also having shortness of breath ?
Avatar universal
I am having these symptoms from last 3-4 years . I observed if I feel relaxed I am able to take full breath and some time if I take some fluid or some thing to eat breathing come simple . after burps also it gives peace full breath . but it does not totally cured.  I need a proper advice on what must be the exact reason behind all this .
Avatar universal
I have had these symptoms and they come and go. I am convinced that all of us here have stomach issues. What's causing the difficulty in breathing is cortisol ( stress hormone), panic attacks are then caused by the breathing difficulty plus the spike of adrenaline. You can take any pill you like or cider vinegar that could help our symptoms but the real cure is exercise. Hit the gym or jog for 7 days straight and you will see a glorious difference. The first few days will be a mess but trust me it is worth it. Just try to be more physically active. This way your brain will build a tolerance to adrenaline. Thank me later.
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