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Avatar universal

trouble breathing, acid reflux, diarrhea, heart palpitations, dizziness

Hi. I'm posting this in a couple diff forums 'cause I don't even know what body area is causing the problem. I have been having trouble breathing most days for the last 3 weeks. I feel like I keep having to force myself to yawn all day to get enough air. It feels like my throat isn't open all the way or like there's bubble that won't pop in my esophagus at the bottom of my neck near my sternum (that's what it feels like to me.) I don't think it's anxiety bc. it started randomly at work when I wasn't upset or anything, it lasts all day and sometimes nights when I'm not feeling stressed, the couple times I HAVE been really stressed or upset were days when the breathing WASN'T bothering me, and I'm NEVER thinking about it when it starts. I have also tried breathing exercises, which have not helped.) I have been to see several doctors about this, and no one can figure it out. They've done a scope through my nose down to my vocal cords, tested me for asthma, taken chest and throat x-rays, did an ekg, tested my blood and my oxygen, done an ultra-sound of my gallbladder, and all they've been able to tell me is that MAYBE the combination of drainage from my nose and reflux from my stomach have been irritating my throat, causing the muscles to spasm.(I've also been having awful acid reflux that has been making me throw up, inspite of my Rx for it, coupled with diarrhea and extreme pain in my throat, esophagus, chest/stomach, some dizziness/head rushes when standing up, and some random heart palpitations.) I've been taking Claritin D for the last few days and that seemed to be making my breathing better, UNTIL today. I have pretty severe non-allergic rhinitis, for which I've taken Nasacort spray for for years. Even when my nose isn't stuffy, and even WITH the nasal spray, I'm often not able to breathe through my nose bc. my nasal passages swell (esp when the temperature and humidity change), so I can't get enough air in. This FEELS like the exact same thing is happening in my throat. And I've noticed that days when I can't breathe through my throat seem to be the same days that I can't breathe through my nose. I've done a ton of research now in the last 3 weeks since no one can figure this out, and according to all the info I've been able to find, it seems like my symptoms fit best for a hiatal hernia, mild congestive heart failure, gallbladder (which they did an ultrasound of), or anxiety (but like I said, I'm almost positive it's not anxiety since it seems to have no correlation at all w/my mood.) I finally got in to see my new fam practicioner 2 days ago, and he ordered an uppper/lower endoscopy. So now I'm waiting for the gastroenterologist to schedule me, and I'm going to try to get in to see an allergist as well. However, I don't know how long it will take to get in to see the GI dr, and really don't know how much longer I can take this (esp since I'm a teacher/actress/singer who likes to exercise, and it's really hard to do ANY of that when I can't breathe.)  So my question is, is there something you can think of that the doctors have missed?? And is there anything at all I can do in the interim before I see the gastro and possibly allergist?? I've been following  the acid reflux diet VERY strictly for the last few weeks, and haven't had alcohol or gluten in months. I am so, so miserable, so if you can think of anything at all, please let me know!.Thank you!!
6 Responses
Avatar universal
One thing you may want to investigate is the presence of food intolerance issues. All of the symptoms you've discussed could be due to an inability to handle certain foods, as crazy as that might sound. There are cases of gluten sensitivity or casein (the major protein in dairy) problems that produces everything you're describing including the acid reflux. Two other 'biggies' in the intolerance department are soy and eggs.

Does anyone else in your family have any sort of food intolerance issues? Any brain fog? Any rashes, even small bumps or blotches that can't be explained? Anyone diagnosed with celiac disease?
Avatar universal
Thanks for your response. :) Well, I already don't eat gluten bc. I was told abt 6 months ago that I have a sensitivity to it (even though they had previously tested me for Celiac's and it had been negative.) My lower digestive tract has felt MUCH better since I stopped eating it (except for the last 2 weeks), and I WISH I had known not to eat it since I was 10 (when my stomach probs started.)

As for dairy, I don't eat too much of it anymore. I occasionally eat cheese, (but have been avoiding it for the last month, for the most part), and I used to eat yogurt sometimes, but haven't had it for a month or 2. And meat and fish haven't been settling well, so I HAVE been eating eggs. I'll try not eating ANY eggs or cheese, and see how I feel.
Avatar universal
Hi there,

Are you still having these issues or have you found a solution?  Reading your post was like reading a day in the life of me! I have every single one of your symptoms and have had the same results. No lactose/gluten/egg intolerance but I find I don't digest them and other heavy foods well. This last year especially I've found my GI tract has had all kinds of problems like bloating, IBS etc but the oesophageal reflux is currently my main problem and its getting worse. I've had that yawning symptom/air bubble in throat/need to swallow for over 7 years now and until I found out that there are other more unusual symptoms attached to GERD I had just always thought it was anxiety and have even been taking Valium for it. I get a tightness/pain in my back between my shoulderblades also and that's generally followed by a serious case of feeling like I can't catch my breath and heart palpitations/dizziness. I think these GERD symptoms probably kick off any anxiety symptoms I have also because its so frustrating to go days feeling like you can't get a full yawn etc. It does tend to end in a bit of a panic state and I can't pin point it to any foods etc being a trigger.

Would love to hear if you've had any success or found any new treatment. I'm taking Nexium at the moment but sometimes still need to take a Zantac and just rest. Manuka honey soothes the throat too and seems to calm the feeling of needing to clear my throat and swallow constantly.

It's such a relief to find someone with the same problem. Doctors and naturopaths have all been no real help at all. I want to treat the underlying problem too. Not just mask the symptoms with medication.
Avatar universal
How were you tested for dairy, gluten and egg intolerance? I know that might sound like a strange question, but if antibodies were used to test, they class of antibody could affect the outcome and give a negative result when in fact it could be positive.
Avatar universal
Hi CalGal,

I'm unsure off the top of my head. It was a blood test though. I would have to check with my doctor to find out exactly what kind of test it was because it was a while ago. Thanks for the tip!
Avatar universal
Hey There!

I have been suffering from the same thing...it seems that I have what is called VCD, Vocal Cord Dysfunction....this may be what you're having! I have had a lot of stress and anxiety recently in my life which also makes it worse, and it all started with exercise for me.  I was on the elliptical machine when I had my first episode...I thought I was going to pass out if I did not stop the exercise.  I have been a chronic open mouth breather my whole life, and I am not sure if this contributes to my problem.  I cannot or have not been able to breath through my nose without getting very dizzy...

Here is a few websites that may be helpful to assess if you feel the same:
http://www.fauquierent.net/vcd.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC164364/
http://www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/conditions/vcd/
http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com/page4.html
http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/PVFM/

Hope this helps!

Sabrina
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