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NFT: Unusual medical question (gastro + breathing)

UberAlias : 6/26/2020 10:48 am
I have bad acid reflux attributed to GERD. I frequently feel it as far up as my mouth. Obviously this gets through the LES and UES.

I also have sleep apnea and lately I've been having all sorts of complications around breathing, fatigue, and a whole slew of other things. My nights are bad and days usually go as the night does.

I'm not not going to go into all the details of my symptoms (I am not looking to be diagnosed here), my question is if what I believe is occurring is even medically possible.

What I feel like is happening at night, as odd as it sounds, is that at times when I breath, I feel like I am sucking gasses out from my stomach. As odd as it sounds, I wonder of I am experiencing an apnea event and when the tongue closes or reduces the airway, I keep inhaling but out from the stomach rather than air. Apnea playing a role here or not, the sensation is that with every breath my stomach decompresses. I also have breathing issues at times when fully awake and wonder if as I am breathing I am sucking in stomach gasses along with the air.

Whatever is happening it's fucked me up pretty good. I'm going back to my gastro next week. This is the latest belief of what I'm experiencing/what the hell is going on with me at night and messing me up by day. Wanted to run this by anyone who has knowledge of such things before I go chasing this down a rabbit hole of specialists.

Note, I have used pulse-oxymeter and shows my oxygen levels as 97% or 98% so that may disprove my theory right there, however I know CO2 in particular cannot be detected by pulse-oxymiter and requires a blood gas test taken from artery.

Thank you in advance.

weird question but are you abnormally bloated?  
UConn4523 : 6/26/2020 10:52 am : link
I ask because I had 2 hernia surgeries and both times, but especially for the umbilical hernia surgery the bloating was very pronounced. Nothing youd see with the naked eye but I just felt super full like I ate a huge meal. Because of that my breathing felt more labored. It subsided after swelling went down but still freaked me out because I have a heart issue as well.

Its good that your oxygen levels are where they are so that rules out that. You'll know a lot more next week when you visit your doc.
JonC : 6/26/2020 10:52 am : link
Wish you all the best in returning to good health, stay positive and keep swimming.
I am having similar issues  
Mark from Jersey : 6/26/2020 11:22 am : link
I have been fighting acid reflux since I was in my late 20's. The good thing is that it got me to quit smoking.

I have been able to manage it fairly well up until recently. I am now having issues with my throat due to the reflux. In addition, I have a hard time breathing for as long as I can remember...I always thought it was allergy related but now it appears to be chronic rhinitis. My ENT recently suggested I get a RhinAer procedure to help open up my airways. I am using Breathing Strips now to help...ever since I started using them, in conjunction with some prescriptons for nerve damage (throat damage) and the acid reflux I am noticing a big difference. The interesting part is that I had been on the meds before but they took a month to work. I think the Breathing Strips are helping out a ton based on my previous experiences with this issue. In addition, I slept through the night for the first time in I cant tell you how long. I obviously cant wear these strips forever so I am seriously considering the procedure to open up my airways and stop all of the other related sypmtoms (post nase drip, frequent runny nose, etc). I had also been diagnosed with sleep apnea in the past (threw the machine in the garbage after a month...noticed no difference.)

So TL:DR - Based on my similar experiences I think your breathing may have something to do with your reflux issues though I am not a doctor.

Ironically enough I posted something like this just yesterday but had to delete it due to the clowns that showed up on the thread.
Any of you  
allstarjim : 6/26/2020 11:33 am : link
That have a problem with reflux need to treat it proactively and daily. This can kill you. Acid damages the esophagus causing Barrett's esophagus, a condition I have been diagnosed with. People with Barrett's have a much higher chance of developing esophageal cancer, which is particularly deadly.

I take Omeprazole daily. When you feel that acid rising, it is already eating the lining of your esophagus.

You need to take a PPI or other acid reducer...Nexium, etc, and get it under control. Tums, Rolaids are not the answer, they are treating the after-effects, not prevention. You need to reduce the acid being created in your stomach. This is serious and important.

GERD leaves acid n the pharynx  
WideRight : 6/26/2020 11:34 am : link
which you could inhale, and have that sensation.

Bottom line, these can become serious health issues. Losing weight is the ultimate solution, expecting specialists to eliminate it may just prolong it
Bill2 : 6/26/2020 11:37 am : link
seriously and experience and evidence based...go get tested for covid asap.

Its a virus and it doesn't just find a home in your lungs.

Bill2 : 6/26/2020 11:40 am : link
you are going to need the test to get any testing or examination
allstarjim just nailed it.Also,  
winoguy : 6/26/2020 12:17 pm : link
try raising or putting your mattress on an incline so your head is elevated above your stomach.
Otello : 6/26/2020 12:28 pm : link
Severe reflux can affect the larynx. This is not uncommon. Since the larynx is the upper part of the respiratory system gastric acids in your reflux material may have gained access to your bronchial tree (air passages in the lung.
IF this is the case then a combined anti reflux strategy would include NOT eating close to bed time, NOT having snacks, etc. in the middle of the night and perhaps sleeping with pillow support to have an upright position and alas...losing weight.

I am a retired physician. Good luck, hope your problem has a successful resolution.
Thank you for the wishes Jon  
UberAlias : 6/26/2020 12:36 pm : link
I'll get through it. Just sucks not knowing what's going on.
get to a Gastronologist and get tested for H Pilori infection  
gtt350 : 6/26/2020 12:37 pm : link
this causes the symptoms you mentioned
You should ask a doctor  
Beer Man : 6/26/2020 1:08 pm : link
most of us can tell you our own experiences, but you'll need a doctor to know what your's is. I have had similar issues with acid reflux, mine turned out to be due to a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is when the opening to the stomach slips above the top of the diaphragm, which causes the opening of the stomach to remain open (which allows acid to freely flow back through).
Have had similar issues  
sometimeswrite : 6/26/2020 1:08 pm : link
+ an additional sleep issue that you didn't mention. Add to that a shoulder issue that required cortisone shots every 3 months. But struggled with the sleep stuff for many years. Being a self reliant type I decided to find a solution as the medical industry had been little help.

In 2012 I bought a 2x Hammock and now sleep in it full time. Life changing. It not only eliminated 3 sleep issues but my shoulder healed itself. That alone had been giving me pain and the inability to raise it above the shoulder for 15 to 20 years.

Still have the, what my ear nose and throat doctor called a, leaky valve. On that front I've developed a eating plan/schedule that works but doesn't eliminate the issue entirely.

I do get the small minded responses when I talk about that situation mostly based on sleeping in a hammock. But I'm the winner here and I fixed it myself.
One popular attempt  
sometimeswrite : 6/26/2020 1:24 pm : link
at a response is about the constant motion or rocking. That is a complete myth. It can sway after the entry but settles down in seconds and remains motionless. Your position when you fall off to sleep is the very same when you wake.
Samiam : 6/26/2020 1:29 pm : link
You’re smart for going to the gastro dr. Gerd, if untreated, can become a huge problem. I have Barrett’s and sleep problems. For what this is worth, I’ve been doing intermittent fasting which means no food after a fairly early dinner. I’m now going to bed after not eating anything for 4-6 hours and am sleeping much better. I would recommend trying the not eating for a few hours before bedtime. Would also recommend sleeping with your head elevated on a thick pillow or an extra pillow.

With regard to your breathing question, I’ve taken a lot of yoga which emphasizes deep breathing. When you take a deep breath, your stomach expands to let the air in. When you breath out, the stomach shrinks as the air goes out. I don’t know if this helps. Good luck and it’s a good idea to see the gastro dr.
One More Thing  
Samiam : 6/26/2020 1:33 pm : link
Forgot to add this. Did your diet change in any way? Is your diet appropriate for your condition? If you haven’t already, I would cut out foods that are not good for acid reflux and anything that causes gas like beer or anything carbonated. Like mentioned above, you’ll probably need something like Nexium but I would wait for the dr to prescribe medicine if that’s the route you take.
I have some of the issues you describe.  
81_Great_Dane : 6/26/2020 1:56 pm : link
Am still struggling with reflux and chronic post nasal drip and cough. However, I was able to get a big improvement by losing weight. I know that can sound unhelpful, but that's the first, simplest step. I say that knowing that simple isn't the same as easy.

I lost a lot of weight, some of it through a more keto-style diet (more calories from fat and protein, fewer from carbs; more nuts and fewer chips, etc.), some of it because my diabetes meds shifted from a med that promotes weight gain to meds that promote weight loss. Intermittent fasting is a huge help. I also believe in occasional extended fasts, like days-long fasts, but my doctor is discouraging me from doing that.

I haven't been able to really pin this down for sure but I think that sitting a lot is the single biggest thing contributing to my symptoms. Since the nature of my work involves working on a computer most of the time, that's sort of hard to escape, but standing and walking more seem to help. I have a standing desk at the office, but I'm not going to the office these days, all work-from-home.

Hope some of that is helpful.
I appreciate all the feedback  
UberAlias : 6/26/2020 2:31 pm : link
A few things -I tested negative for COVID (Had upper GI recently when some of this started. That's where they found the inflammation due and am taking medication daily. I also lost about 20lbs but definitely some of that was muscle. I was working out pretty hard before. Currently my muscles fatigue easily so I'm doing mostly walking not really any intense stuff.

Having issues with swallowing. Often feel a lump in my throat. Also feel my teeth feel weird when touching --I'm assuming acid damage. Sometimes feel differences in change in pressure and also voice --I can't talk very long without getting out of breath.

Someone mentioned hiatal hernia. That's probably it. I've long suspected I had one, just never connected it with this particular sensation of my breathing sucking the stomach, but it makes sense that that could be part of it.
I second AllStar Jim's urgency, but I have a different take  
GiantTuff1 : 6/26/2020 5:14 pm : link
I suffered through many similar symptoms. I had NPL, the "silent acid reflux", all the damage of horrific Gerd, but mostly missing the "heart burn" feeling. Worst part was the burning of the larynx, vocal cords that adversely affected speaking. It was terrible, and I was at the point of tears several times b/c of the pain and frustration (and other related symptoms) and not knowing why it was happening or how to stop it.

I tried a million things, went the regular medical route, then in desperation found my way into the naturopathic and functional medicine world. That's where I finally found relief.

The belief there is that acid reflux is a result of a LACK of stomach acid. Not too much. Read that again and repeat it. A lack of acid. People assume they have too much acid b/c their chest or throat burns, right? Makes sense. However, what is really happening is because of poor acid-based and imbalanced diets (what you eat matters), over carbing, infections (h-pylori neutralizes stomach acid with ammonia based byproducts), yeasts and bacterial overgrowths (SIBO, Candida, etc), overall stress, poor nutrition, a host of other reasons, over time the stomach can lose it's digestive fire. When the gut becomes weak a vicious and extremely confusing cycle begins, and along with it potential disaster.

The reason you get GERD is because you don't have the proper PH in your stomach and may be lacking the digestive enzymes to break down your food. So what is the result? Whatever you eat putrefies in your stomach / intestines. Are you belchy? Farty? Bloated? Especially after eating? I would bet a lot of money you are. And what happens when food putrefies and ferments in the gut? It causes gas, and gas causes intra-abdominal pressure. As a result many people will feel discomfort of the upper abdomen. When that pressure occurs it forces open the LES. It's not that the LES is broken or suddenly stops working, it's being forced open. And when it is forced open, things come up along with that gas. Your esophagus tissues are far more sensitive than what your stomach can handle, so even weak stomach acid is going to burn like hell and can cause incredible damage.

When the PH is normalized in the gut to proper strength acidity the LES functions normally. If you did the PH capsule stomach acid test where you actually measure your gastric acidity you might be surprised to find you have low stomach acid.

If you have terrible symptoms that can cause severe trauma, by all means use the little purple pill as a VERY TEMPORARY band aid, until you can find yourself a functional medicine practitioner. The issue with antacids is that they will mask your symptoms so you'll feel better now, but over time you are playing a very dangerous game as you NEED proper stomach acid PH to break down, digest, and absorb your foods. Neutralizing your stomach acid with antacids is only going to lead to a host of nutritional deficiencies, and a cascade of other maladies will spawn from poor nutrient absorption.

The better route to help get you back to balance is to utilize digestive enzymes, especially those which contain HCL. Yes, hydrochloric acid + pepsin, same stuff your stomach should be making more of but isn't. Your symptoms will clear up like magic. But please, first look up the best functional medicine practitioner near you and talk to them about your issues so you can get proper guidance on this plus the other aspects of what you may be doing that may be contributing to your situation (unbeknownst to you). Get on a plan and take it one step at a time, you have a lot to learn and should get started right away. This is a piece of my experience and the knowledge I've acquired, I hope it's helpful, but please work with a professional as I'm not a doctor (obligatory disclaimer).

Wishing you the best of luck on your journey back to health.
Wow that is really intriguing  
UberAlias : 6/26/2020 6:04 pm : link
I will certainly look into it. Thank you.
I hope you feel better Uber  
montanagiant : 6/26/2020 10:44 pm : link
Best of luck.
Good luck  
cactus : 6/27/2020 12:10 am : link
Nexium was the best thing for me for my bad reflux. Completely healed me years ago.
Add my best wishes and finding the cure, Uber  
ColHowPepper : 6/27/2020 11:47 am : link
Sounds like you've through the mill. Hope that stops.

For my pedestrian version of Gerd/acid reflux, I know that eating ice cream and other rich foods (buttery cookies, etc.) late at night is a problem.
Agree w/ GiantTuff1  
trueblueinpw : 6/27/2020 1:18 pm : link
Don’t know anything about your general health and diet. But I’ve been told by my physician essentially what GT1 wrote so well above. The PPIs, Nexium, etc, my doctor said we’re very bad past a month or two. Many of my friends have been taking PPIs for years. The Mrs did until we were brought up to speed on some studies demonstrating concerns with long term use.

Anyway, I’d focus on diet. I quite drinking coffee and within days my reflux disappeared. Not saying that’s your problem, just my experience. Consider a plant based diet - maybe check out Forks Over Knives. A good diet along with proper exercise and low body fat and the right BMI is really helpful as we age. Solves many, many chronic health conditions.

Also, you should sleep on your side and on your left shoulder as this uses body to help keep the reflux away.

Good luck man! Hope it gets better.
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