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Readers Respond: What symptoms led you to your GERD diagnosis?

Responses: 54


Updated October 10, 2010

It's GERD.

Some 3 years ago, I started to have this feeling of chest congestion and once in a while, my head will be spinning as if I am going to faint. I went to the ER in the hospital 4 times over a period of one and a half years, every time they just do the ECG on me and gave me MMT to suppress the uncomfortableness, until the 4th time when the doctor in attendance told me that she will prefer to ward me for the night for observations. I was then warded and only until the morning, when the MO was on his round, came up to me, asked me questions like how often I took coffee and tea and how was my liking to chillies and from my observations, when did those funny feelings usually occur. So after hearing what I said, he said that very likely it is Acid Reflux and called for an endoscopy which confirmed that I am having GERD and Hiatal Hernia.
—Guest rontaek


I am 56 years old and live in New Douglas IL. I have gerd and am up at least once sometimes twice a night, I was diagnosed 5 years ago. It took 3 doctors before I found the right one, he is very concerning and will try all available medicines before what they call wrapping the hernia. I have had scopes, breath tests, the eggs and toast test bullet, and upper GI. I've had the same problem with swallowing. I have to open my mouth small drink and pant, till I can get it down.
—Guest Patricia Hamblin

hiatal hernia

I went to see an MD first when I kept waking up at night with terrible coughing fits and morning hoarseness. Was diagnosed with allergies. Pills however did not help. Second time I went to see a doctor was with sharp pain behind breastbone which led to proper diagnosis after several tests (blood work, EKG + stress test to exclude cardiac problems; then upper GI scope which revealed large hiatal hernia). Finally after many years of effective management with diet and medication, swallowing problems (feeling of food not wanting to go down) led to change in medication. Now I am on a daily dose of proton pump inhibitors and I go for a yearly scope to make sure there is no further damage to oesophagus.
—Guest Helena


I long suspected that I have reflux, but I didn't go to a doctor. 6 years ago, in July, I noticed enlargement of my tonsils, so I went to a primary care doctor. He "diagnosed" tonsillitis and prescribed me 500 mg of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. After first tablet I had the strongest heartburn in my life, so I revisited this doctor. He said that I had hiatus hernia and prescribed an antacid. After several months, when I returned from France to my homeland, I went to a gastroenterologist. He told me that I should have endoscopy. This examination confirmed that I have hiatus hernia. Currently, I take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).
—Guest z2006

Took Years!!!

I have had a swallowing problem since my mid twenties (now 56) and would get many different "remedies" from doctors, but all of which never worked. I got to the point where I didn't even want to eat as it hurt so much! A couple of years ago I got a new doctor and he prescribed rabeprazole for me and it works like a miracle!! I take one each morning, sometimes two, depending on what I have been eating. I sure wish I had these pills many, many years ago. When I had trouble swallowing it was so bad that the food I swallowed would not go down, or come up, and it was very painful and embarrassing when out eating with others. Many times I would have to excuse myself and run to the washroom! I hope that this information might help someone else and save them many years of agony!!
—Guest Marcy

acid reflux/ GERD

I have had acid reflux for a long time I guess, recently got diagnosed with it. I have the burning in the chest and throat, feels like something is stuck there. There has been many times I have stuck my finger down my throat just to get relief. I've been woken many nights with the burning. I have had two severe episodes one, back in March and one in June. The one in June, I ended up in the hospital with. when admitted in hospital, they admitted me under seizure like activities, because when 911 got there i was jerking and shaking and trying to throw up. My GI doc told me that an acid reflux episode can be mistaken for a stroke or a seizure. Has anyone heard of this before? Well the hospital also said that I had a stroke, encephalitis, brain tumor, brain swelling, and the seizure. Since hospital stay I got a 2nd and 3rd opinion. I never had brain swelling, or encephalitis. 4 neurologist can't decide if i had seizure or brain tumor. but i feel better now since i been taken Zantac.
—Guest toots


I don't know whether I have GERD, but I can't sleep at nights, I feel like I swallowed something that wont go down, stuck in my chest , some times moves up and down, don't know what to do
—Guest derrick

Chronic cough

Coughing for 16 years and no relief from all the allergists, ENTs who said allergy induced asthma...even though none of their prescribed drugs provided any relief. Even saw many holistic people. In my constant search I now am doing aggressive protocol rec for those with GERD to see if this makes difference.
—Guest Lisa

Many symptoms, one final diagnosis

Diagnosed with a small Hiatus Hernia, Gastritis, delayed emptying and GERD. This diagnosis came after many months of symptoms. Started with an annoying cough, especially when I laid down at night. I had no idea this could have anything to do with my stomach. I figured it was just my allergies. In August or Sept. 2009, I ate a bowl of spaghetti about an hour before bedtime. Eating before bedtime had never bothered me before (I thought). I woke up with my stomach aching. It hurt me all night and into the next day. This was the gastritis part of my diagnosis. I also had been experiencing an annoying sensation of something pushing up on my Adam's apple. I decided to go see my family doctor to see what the problem was. She diagnosed acid reflux. After two worthless medications, she sent me to a specialist. Had an endoscopy and diagnosis mentioned above. Two more medicine changes. Now on Kapidex and watch my diet. Still have symptoms sometimes. No more easy meals for me!
—Guest kathyt

Singer with gerd

Anyone else a vocalist with GERD? I was diagnosed 8 years ago by an ENT who scoped my esophagus and told to drop my coffee habit, sleep elevated and follow a strict diet. I couldn't do it and didn't feel I wanted to take the medicine for GERD while I was unwilling to change my diet. I didn't suffer too badly until this past winter. I don't relate to "heartburn", but my voice box was always covered with phlegm and it burned unmercifully. When I tried to warm up my voice to sing I had to cough off the phlegm, disgusting to my band mates. And the persistent burning of my vocal chords scared me straight. I gave up coffee three weeks ago. (Horrible withdrawal) I am planning a visit to the doctor for some form of acid reduction meds. Good luck to all.

Chronic Symptoms

Just visited a private consultant after being refered by my GP. I have suffered from acid reflux for more years than I care to remember and have taken OTC pills and liquids for well over 10 years. However, it is now chronic - I have been physically sick, developed a cough and have the feeling of something stuck in my throat. I have my endoscopy booked in for next week but am concerned that having left it so long to get this looked at I have caused permanant or even life threatening damage. Fingers crossed all will be well in as much as it can be diagnosed at treated fairly quickly and easily via an operation or medication. I want to enjoy the odd glass of wine and a curry again!!!!
—Guest Dicker


night sweats and burning stomach associated with night sweats . no vomiting ,just burning in my stomach.
—Guest Lydia

Can't sleep

It's 3 o'clock in the morning right now and I just woke up because of heartburn. This doesn't happen very often and I don't really get normal heartburn that often during the day, so when it happened at night for the first time I freaked out. I'm 18 and 20 lbs overweight so I know that losing some weight will help me out, but I'm a very picky eater so the two things that I've noticed to give me heartburn is pizza and lemon. Usually I wake up once a week in the middle of a deep sleep because of acidic heartburn suddenly bursting up my throat and it feels like I'm choking as I rapidly swallow to try to keep it down. And the rapid swallowing is so natural that I can't stop myself from doing it and it feels like I can't breathe. Tonight was something a little different though, and its never happened before, I woke up to something more like vomit than pure acid, it was kind of sickly sweet and it didn't burn as much as usual but the really strange part is that is came out of my nose too.
—Guest Just woke up

Pressure & light-headedness

My concern started with a heart-scare. I have had chronic high blood pressure since my teens, but several months back I experienced a hypertensive crisis. I also had a strong knot right at the sphincter, and waves of faintness/dizziness. In the last year I have also had several severe reflux incidents - usually when I am in a deep sleep. In one instance, I partially inhaled, and it took my lungs a long time to recover. I am going to try the diets recommended here, but other dietary changes I made before did not seem to help. My Dr. tried me on Nexium, and the symptoms pretty much disappeared, but the prescription was not renewed as my Dr. felt that my body would likely adjust acid to compensate.
—Guest ken

Just getting diagnosis is hard!

My boyfriend has been to at least 10 doctors, had two ER visits and one overnight admittance, and has been diagnosed with everything from sleep apnea with obstruction, to acute bronchitis, to LPRD (laryngopharyngeal reflux disease), to acute sinusitis, and even cough, which has a diagnostic code! (786.2) They all prescribed Advair -- this week's doctor upped the dose to 500/50. Advair makes everything worse -- he gets hoarse, can't swallow, has attacks where he can't breathe. So he took himself off of it and is getting better. He is now taking 40 mg of Nexium twice a day, Flonase twice a day, and 81 mg of aspirin to thin the blood. We still don't have a diagnosis -- latest doctor says he's too sick to have a sleep test, which is what the Cleveland Clinic doctor we saw ordered. I have put him on a GERD diet thanks to this wonderful Web site, and that seems to be helping the most. Of course, the bed is raised and we don't eat 3 hours before bedtime. He also quit drinking.
—Guest lrawls16
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