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Coping and controlling GERD- having difficulties

By July 8, 2010 - 1:45pm
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Hi all:

I am a 42 year old woman who quit smoking about 1 1/2 months ago (yea me), but since then I have been having difficulties with GERD that affects my larynx (it spasms and closes) and a constant need to clear my throat and a chronic cough. I've been prescribed the proper medicines (proton pump inhibitor and another one for acid) for this and are following a pretty strict diet (no milk or milk products, no caffeine, no chocolate/ eating different greens and healthier foods). I sleep with just 2 pillows, enough to prop my head. I have a follow up appointment coming up soon, but what else can I do to relieve this?

I'm about to go back to smoking (just kidding).

Any suggestions out there?

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I have been looking into GERD, and the Mayo Clinic says that takes several months for symptom relief after lifestyle modifications and medication.

You can read more about this here: Mayo Clinic: GERD treatment

You may require lifelong treatment, and there are surgeries that can help as well.

Have you had your larynx spasms medically evaluated? You mentioned that your doctor is a "sweet old man", so I'm wondering if he has also an expert in his field, and has already ruled out any underlying conditions of your larynx? The websites below way this can be a chronic condition, and as long as there is no underlying disease or condition causing the SD, there are no complications.

Have you seen a throat specialist?

Here is what I found:
larynx spasms are medically called:
"Laryngeal Dystonia (Spasmodic Dysphonia)

Laryngeal dystonia, or spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a voice disorder caused by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx. There are two major types of spasmodic dysphonia: adductor and abductor, although most are a mixture of both types.
- Adductor SD, with spasms causing sporadic vocal fold closures, are identified by a strained, strangled voice.
- Abductor SD, with spasms causing sporadic vocal fold closures, produces a voice with interruptions of air.

For more information about spasmodic dysphonia, go to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association web site at:
www.dystonia-foundation.org "
Source: http://www.texasvoicecenter.com/diseases.html

Do you have any of those symptoms of SD mentioned above?"

July 11, 2010 - 8:03pm

Hi Alison,
I know what you mean about the length of my quitting, it's true. I've quit before for long lengths at a time, but I believe that since I am older this may be why I am having more issues. I noticed a lot of differences so far and it's wonderful for the most part. For those out there who still smoke- quit smoking when your younger because your body doesn't spring back as easy.

Right after I quit smoking, I got bronchitis and this chronic cough and since it was so bad- I went to the doc (they said bronchitis), to the emergency room (they said whooping cough) and finally to a specialist because of the larynx spasm issue. I would say I have been on the meds and the special diet for a month because I just did a refill. My esophagus is fine, they told me. I did have an upper GI done, but they didn't tell me of any issues. I once had the hiatal hernia 5 years ago, took the meds and it seemed to be fine, so I quit the meds back then.

I understand that it is very prominent in my family that we all have GERD issues and I guess I'm following suit to my dad and aunts. I am assuming that when I go back to the doctor (he is such a sweet old man) and explain to him that although I do not choke to death anymore on a daily basis, but I still have issues- he may want to provide me with more instructions. I'm thinking that this may be a lifetime issue for me because of family history, but I had hoped that my diet would have made it easier.

I guess I'm worried about the occasional larynx spasms that I still get. I really disliked waking up and grasping for air until it decides to relax.

But thank you for your help on this. :)

July 8, 2010 - 2:56pm
(reply to sunshine_1649)

Thanks for your additional information...it helps!

We'll get back to you soon with some more information; I want to take some time to review the literature and see what I can find. It sounds like you are able and willing to talk with your doctor more in depth, so I will see what information I can provide to help you in your discussion.

July 8, 2010 - 7:59pm

Hi sunshine,
I love your sense of humor!

Congrats on quitting smoking, but since it has been just 45 days ago (sorry, I don't want to minimize this, because it is HUGE...I didn't know how else to say this), the effects of you quitting smoking may not be fully realized until you are further along in your quitting status.

How long have you been taking these medications?
How long have you been following this strict diet?

I am curious to learn more about you and your story, and I will do some research into what you can expect as far as symptom relief (and when). Did your doctors provide any additional information to you, regarding when you can expect treatment effects? How long have you had GERD (has it only been since you quit smoking that this has effected you?).

Hope to hear back from you soon!

July 8, 2010 - 2:17pm
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