One day a few years ago I woke up with a lump in my throat. It felt like I had just swallowed a golf ball that got stuck in my throat. It continued to be there for days on end. Every time I tried to swallow I felt like I was choking with this thing hanging in between. I was afraid that I was having some kind of a tumor that had gotten big over night. Slowly it started getting worse. I started feeling tightness in my chest along with the lump in my throat. I wondered if I was having chest pains sometimes with this heaviness in my chest area. I took myself to my primary physician and was told it probably was acid indigestion. I was given prescription strength antacids.
Two months after it started I could not breathe at work one day and I ended up in the emergency room. Since I was a heart patient I was admitted and put under 24- hour observation. Everything came out fine and I was relieved that I was not having a heart attack. I was given what is called a GI Cocktail which was a mixture of high dose antacids with muscle relaxants to relax my GI tract. I felt fine for a month after that and than I ended up being sent to an endoscopy. The results were negative for stomach ulcers. A couple more times I ended up in emergency rooms not knowing if it was my GI problem or my heart. Then one fine day I was told by a GI doctor that I had "GERD" (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease).
GERD is a chronic condition that is caused:
a. due to the damage to stomach lining leading to heartburn.
b. damage to stomach lining leads to heartburn due to abnormal reflux of acids produced in the stomach.
c. stomach acids produce heartburn that cause changes in the barrier between the esophagus and stomach which leads to the abnormal reflux into the esophagus leading to hiatal hernia.
d. narrowing or spasms of esophagus due to extreme stress or panic attacks
Symptoms of GERD are:
a. heartburn-continuous burning sensation of the stomach and esophagus and throat.
b. regurgitation- reflux of the stomach acids into the esophagus through the hiatus.