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Acid Reflux / GERD Message Board


Acid Reflux / GERD Board Index


Hello all, long time lurker, first time poster.

I have a very strong suspicion that I have been misdiagnosed with GERD and the very drugs that are meant to cure it are actually now causing me untold misery.

This all started back in October.
I kept feeling what I thought were palpitations and kept checking my pulse and would worry myself silly if I felt it was too high or too low.

The Friday night I went out and drank a lot of alcohol. That same afternoon, I had gone on a team bonding trip to a chocolate making factory, where needless to say, I ate a lot of chocolate. I topped off all that crap with a kebab and a bowel of coco pops because the beer had made me hungry.

I went to sleep at around 5am and woke up at around midday. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, felt quite sick and not much appetite but that's normal after such a night out.

As the day wore on, I had this awful tightness in my chest and I began to panic more and more, eventually, convinced that I was having a heart attack, I called myself an ambulance because at this stage I was panicking so much that I was on the verge of fainting and I genuinely thought I was having a heart attack (pretty silly thought for a 22 year old who is very aerobically fit, despite my crap diet in this post). I was cold and clammy and extremely dehydrated.

The paramedics came and took my BP and pulse both of which were sky high and eventually the paramedic just said to me 'calm down, it looks like you're having a panic attack, you'll be fine'.

The triage nurse in ER seemed to think as much as I ended up waiting over three hours to be seen, and the doctor did an ECG and ultrasound on my heart, both of which were 100% fine, although I did still feel a tightness in my chest.I was slightly overweight (BMI of 27) and my diet was that of a typical student.

At this point, the doctor quizzed me on what I had eaten in the past 48 hours, to which I told him all of the above. He then asked if I ever felt any discomfort after eating. I thought he meant gas or bloating which everyone gets sometimes so I said yes I do. He then said 'ah it seems like you have acid reflux'. No endoscopy, no pH test, nothing to determine anything, just his own hunch. I was then sent home with a months prescription of Nexium 30mg and here is where I think my theory holds its own.

I was released from hospital on Sunday morning and couldn't get it as chemists were closed. On Monday, my local chemist didn't actually have it in stock so they had to order it, so it was Tuesday when I actually got around to getting the prescription.

I was naive and ignorant of what acid reflux was and hadn't done any research on the topic, all I had in my head was that this drug would get rid of the discomfort in my chest, so I was determined to take it.

Between the morning of my release from hospital and that Tuesday, I DID NOT HAVE ANY HEARTBURN, just the tightness in my chest.

Despite being advised to take the pill in the morning before breakfast, I took the first one on Tuesday afternoon and noticed that I couldn't really stomach my dinner at all. It did nothing for the tightness in my chest but hey these things take time I thought to myself.

On Wednesday morning, I took the Nexium before breakfast as advised and this is where the fun really starts. About half an hour after my breakfast, I had a massive dizziness in the back of my head and felt like I was going to throw up, I was so dizzy I couldn't stand and had to spend the rest of the afternoon in bed. The dizziness took about four hours to pass and even then, my stomach was in bits. Looking back, I think I had a bout of vertigo, which may well have been panic more so than anything else. I concluded that I must have been having a reaction to the Nexium, so I thought feck that it's not worth taking anymore if it's making me this sick. What was more annoying is that this was the day before my gf who is currently working in an another country was coming to visit me.

For the next few days after that, I could barely stomach food at all. Thankfully, by that Friday I felt well enough too go out for dinner with my gf and we went to a Thai restaurant which is both of ours favourite food. My gf's mother had heard of the difficulties I was having and she very kindly sent over a pack of Gaviscon. This tightness in my chest had still not gone away so after dinner I concluded that reflux must be the cause and I popped two gaviscon. They did nothing for the tightness in my chest and all they did was make me incredibly windy and horrifically so.

The day after this, I experienced a burning in my oesophagus for the first time ever. So to cap it all off, my theory is that the Nexium and Gaviscon, lowered my acid levels and I experienced a rebound off of Nexium which essentially induced GERD like symptoms.

After another two weeks of heartburn misery (which I believe was a rebound from Nexium and Gaviscon messing with my stomach acid), the doc prescribed me omeprazole (Prilosec).

Prilosec has done untold damage to me and seems to have induced IBS-C as I am chronically constipated since I started taking it. As a result, I attempted to quit it cold turkey after being on 40mg a day for three months and I had the biggest 48 hours of hell, it felt as if someone had taken a flaming torch and chucked it down my oesophagus. The typical tell tale sign of Acid rebound is that symptoms are worse than before you started and that is certainly the case with me.

I have self medicated on Ranitidine (Zantac) in an effort to gradually wean myself off over the course of two months or so, taking 300mg for two weeks, then 225mg, then 150mg, then 75mg, then 75mg every other day until I feel my stomach has restored itself to its former glory. I will keep you all updated through this process.

From reading my tale, do you think I was wrongly diagnosed? Could just 80mg of Nexium plus around 16 Gaviscon tablets for what I thought was Acid Reflux be enough to induce a rebound effect and cause GERD like symptoms.

My mother and my GF's mother are genuine GERD sufferers and are of the opinion that all I had was panic/anxiety issues and probably something like PTSD.

TLDR; felt pain in chest, doctor tested my heart ,all fine, diagnosed GERD as a hunch, never had heartburn before PPI
I'm no doctor but you seem to not have been properly diagnosed.
GERD means GastroEsophagial Reflux Disorder (emphasis on disorder) which means you would need to have presented in your past symptoms coherent with GERD, not just at one occasion. And they didn't really perform any tests as far as I can tell.

Excess drinking makes anyone dehydrated. Lack of apetite and feeling sick the next day is perfectly normal and it's part of the hangover.
Eating fast food or greasy or spicy food can obviously further irritate the stomach, which was already fragile after the drinking.
The bowl or cocoa pops with milk might have seem like a good idea, but milk is actually hard to digest and could ferment in your stomach if the environment is acidic enough.
It's also possible that you've eaten something fowel and caught food poisoning. In that case you should have probably experienced nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea and even fever.

And let's present the obvious - might just been a "crazy night" for your stomach (you really did a lot of don'ts).
In my opinion you should have drank a lot of water, eaten very carefully for the next few days and rested. No meds for stomach needed.
And I'll give you a tip from when I was partying in college: drink water! Us girls have the perk of being able to carry a bottle of water in our purse.
It's not "cool" to bring water to a party, but your body will thank you the next day and NO hangover! So, when you feel your about to cross your limits reduce the amount on alcohol drinking and start drinking water (bits at a time) and when you get home drink at least half a glass of water before going to bed.

Constipation can also be caused by diadhration. It's important to know that any pills you take make you diadhrated and you need to have extra intake of water while being on them.

None of this explains your panic attack. Except that for people with an history of anxiety or previous panic attacks alcohol may be a trigger. Chocolate is like an exciting drug for your brain so it could also have helped. And coffee as well. Major trigger! Did you have coffee when you woke up?!?

The palpitations might be a sign of anxiety and your "obsession" with your heart rate too. The tightness in you chest, the elevated BP and heartrate aswell. What happened on or around October? Is this when your girlfriend went away?

Also you say your gf was arriving a few days from there, which might have been a source or anxiety at the time.

Since then you've made a few mistakes:
1st - taking nexium in the afternoon. always take it on an empty stomach and eat maximum 30min after (don't wait too long to eat after taking it),
2nd - when you realised it wasn't having the intended effect and you possibly had a reaction to it you should have gone to a doctor.
3rd - Thai might not be the best idea now, get back on track first.
4th - don't self medicate. I can see why would be less trusting with doctors now, but at least check if what you're doing makes any sense.
5th - going cold turkey off prilosec - not a good idea. You should have reduced to a 20 mg dosage. If it still didn't sute you, then you should take one every 2 days and then stop.

Your assessment of rebounding from nexium and gaviscon is possible but you really only had nexium 2 times, so I don't know...
Maybe it's really just the falling out or all this general mess.
Prilosec 40mg is strong so I agree going cold turkey off it made it worse.

None of what you experienced (either panic or reflux) is a disorder, unless it starts to occur more frequently or by episodes. So just recuperate and don't worry too much about it.

If what you're doing now works for you keep doing it. Don't forget to drink lots or water and be careful with your eating.

Wish you the best!





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