Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Acid Reflux Forum

Is this acid reflux or something more severe?

Hi everyone! I'm a male in my early 20s and I live a pretty healthy lifestyle; I watch my diet, exercise, don't drink/smoke, and am not overweight. However, two weeks ago I began having a sore throat and felt fatigued/dizzy, but dismissed it as just a mild seasonal infection (there was something going around at the time). I also had to get a blood test for something else, so asked the doc to include a CBC and mono test just in case it was something else - neither came back positive.

Last week though, I realized that when I lay down to sleep, I'd have the feeling of something coming up my throat, leaving me with a burning feeling (presumably stomach acid) - there was no previous warning and it literally happened over night. I bought some OTC Tums and cut out coffee/mint/chocolate/fatty foods, but this didn't really help too much. I then saw a doc who prescribed me one-a-day 20mg Rabeprazole for 4 weeks. She said that whatever I have is likely temporary because of stress or coffee consumption (I'm a student) and told me the drug would make me feel better and recommended some diet changes.

After a week of taking this drug, there hasn't been much improvement. I still feel like there's food in my throat after eating a regular meal, I've lost my appetite (one piece of toast could keep me bloated and full for hours), I find it hard to breathe at times, my throat is constantly sore, and I would often burp after eating. Recently, my jaw and bottom two molars began to hurt, and I've also noticed some soreness towards the back of my mouth/gums. Even if I lie down 4-5h after a meal with 3 pillows under my head, I often get acid reflux. Also, today after a really small meal I had some pain in my epigastric area.

I haven't experienced any heart burn, but this all seems pretty sudden considering I was perfectly healthy 2 weeks ago...Could this be something other than acid reflux or GERD/LPR? Perhaps some sort of ulcer?

Any insight is appreciated! Should these signs warrant a visit to the ER, or should I wait to see the family doc and get a referral to a digestive clinic.

Thanks!!
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replied April 27th, 2014
Thank you for asking!
A history of 2 weeks with such a severe reflux not treated by medicines even is strange and rare. Do you take medicine empty stomach an hour before meal or 3 hours after it? increase the dose from 20 to 40 mg. use some prokinetics like metoclopromide to help gut motility. ge of 20 is too young to have some serious issue. Yes sore throats and all other oral symptoms are because of this reflux. I am intrigued by its rapid occurrence. Get some work up done for this reflux, 24 hour PH monitoring, esophageal manometry and an endoscopic examination of the gut would be benificial.
following diet and lifestyle modifications will help.
Nonpharmacotherapy

Lifestyle modifications used in the management of gastroesophageal reflux disease include the following:

Losing weight (if overweight)
Avoiding alcohol, chocolate, citrus juice, and tomato-based products
Avoiding peppermint, coffee, and possibly the onion family[7]
Eating small, frequent meals rather than large meals
Waiting 3 hours after a meal to lie down
Refraining from ingesting food (except liquids) within 3 hours of bedtime
Elevating the head of the bed 8 inches
Avoiding bending or stooping positions
Pharmacotherapy

The following medications are used in the management of gastroesophageal reflux disease:

H2 receptor antagonists (eg, ranitidine, cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine)
Proton pump inhibitors (eg, omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole)
Prokinetic agents (eg, aluminum hydroxide)
Antacids (eg, aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide)

You are doing some thing wrong. 80 % of the people get relief by just diet and lifestyle modification. rest 18 % need medicines. And only 2 percent needs surgical correction. You cant be in this 20 % with just 2 weeks history. Some thing is wrong and it needs to be sorted out.

Consult your gastroenterologist for further management.
Take care
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replied April 27th, 2014
Hi there,

Thank you for your helpful information! I'm having the exact same question - what am I doing wrong? I'm only 20, so it seems odd to me that my LES would just suddenly give up like this, especially since I'm not overweight, don't smoke, and don't consume a lot of alcohol. I have been on the PPI (rabeprazole) and Tums for the past week, and I take the drug in the morning 1-2h before my first meal - should I modify this timing? Even with this medication, I still sometimes wake up with acid reflux and often with a sore throat. I'm also concerned because I've lost a little bit of weight this last week since I haven't had any appetite...I'm not a small guy, and this weightloss is definitely not normal for me.

I am going to back to the doctor's tomorrow to ask for a referral to a local digestive clinic. Hopefully this will get to the root of it.

I'm wondering, is it truly possible for GERD/LPR to be just "temporary" as my doctor claimed? Also, will these past two weeks of the reflux significantly increase my risk for future complications (ulcers/cancers)?

Thank you!
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replied April 29th, 2014
Hi there.

I've had this experience too, where just a little food would keep me full for hours and no appetite whatsoever. My remedy was mint tea. It helped soothe my stomach.
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