Thursday, 10 April 2014

Is It GERD? Is It Smoke Withdrawal? What Is It?

I have been complaining about my throat for sometime now and if you read most of my posts on Quitting Smoking, especially the more recent ones, you will know that my throat is really bugging me and I keep saying it is because I have given up smoking. Mark gave up smoking about 14 years ago and when I first gave up smoking he said I would cough a lot and have a lot of phlegm. I haven't really coughed at all, but have had this really irritating irritation in my throat, to the point that my voice becomes quite husky and hoarse. When I gave up smoking I followed the Kickbutt With CANSA program, they also warn about coughing and phlegm, so initially, although I did not cough a lot, my throat has niggled from almost day one of giving up. It has just gotten progressively worse and as I type this I feel like I have a piece of hot coal in my throat and my voice is very hoarse. I have a terrible taste at the back of my throat so live on sweets and chewing gum - it does not help.

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago with various ailments, the Medical Marvel that I am and the one ailment being my throat, she diagnosed as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and said she would put me on Lokit. I had been on Lokit for some time last year and it did not help, so she put me on Nexium. I think I am on my third month now, so it probably was not a couple of weeks ago that I went to the doctor, more likely it was in January. The Nexium has not really helped and my throat goes from feeling as though there is a burning torch in it to a lump to a wormy feeling to feeling like there is a piece of hair in my throat. Some days I feel like taking a crotchet hook and hooking out whatever it is, if I had access to a crotchet hook I would use it. I am always feeling sick and the sicker I feel, the more I eat sweets. I am like that - sweets are a cure-all for everything.

So this weekend feeling more frustrated than ill, I searched GERD, for the umpteenth time and I found this really informative site called Healthy GERD Diet & Treatment. It has the most information I have ever found on GERD. Besides the normal symptoms like Heartburn and Acid Reflux, one of the symptoms, would you believe it, is HOARSENESS and SORE THROAT another symptom is LUMP IN THROAT!!! There are other symptoms like difficulty in breathing and dry cough. It finally all made sense, but the Nexium is not working. It does help with the Heartburn though. Chronic meds and I don't go down too well. I get "bored" with the idea of routine and have a very "Why Bother" attitude and taking medicine every day fits into that "Why Bother" category. So with that in mind, I never collected my prescription the other day when I ran out of meds and had such bad heartburn and acid reflux. After two days of having no Nexium the one night I hardly slept, so it was back onto Nexium. However, it does nothing for the throat issue, hence my curiosity with the whole GERD thing, which resulted in my Google search for answers.

Paw Paw
Apparently, Paw Paw or Papaya is very good for GERD as well as Pineapple, so I have been eating Paw Paw everyday since Saturday - no results yet. Fennel tea and Apple Cider Vinegar is also recommended. I have been drinking that as well. There are loads more, but I have started on these and according to the article, peppermints, including chewing gum and chocolate is a huge NO-NO!!. So my constant chewing of mints and gum is just exasperating the issue. I know chocolate is bad and I suffer after eating chocolate, but do I learn - NO!!

Fennel & Apple Cider Vinegar

Fennel Tea has an acquired taste and quite an acquired one at that, but now that I am used to it, it is not that bad. I drink it with no sugar and milk and it has a very strong licorice taste. The smell is worse and quite overbearing. Apple Cider Vinegar is another story - you have to mix a teaspoon with half a cup of hot water. As I drink the now cooled drink, I have to wonder as it goes down burning my throat, right down to my stomach, as only vinegar could, can this stuff really be good for my throat and GERD. Well yesterday afternoon, I had to rush home as I was so sick and I have to wonder if it is the Apple Cider Vinegar or something I ate that made me ill with no warning. I so have to change my diet completely to avoid GERD. I thought I had finally gotten an answer or reason for my throat closing up, BUT the strangest thing is that it happens when I am around smokers. I am always telling Mark that every time someone smokes near me,or I smell stale smoke, my throat closes. He thought that was weird, then when I read all the information on the Healthy GERD Diet Site I thought it was just a coincidence that it closed up around smokers, because I am an almost text book GERD case according to this website.

Image Courtesy Of "The Healthy GERD Diet" Website
Now the question is:-

Smoking is no doubt bad for Gastric Ulcers and GERD, BUT can the smell of smoke cause Acid Reflux or Do I get so irritated with smokers that the stress causes Acid Reflux? I would be very interested to find out if anyone else has had this kind of reaction to second hand smoke or if second hand smoke can cause GERD to worsen. I have had Ulcer problemsand Acid Reflux for years and have been treated on and off for many years, but have never had a Gastroscopy. I'd take the medication for a few months then I would be fine again. It is only since I gave up smoking that this problem has been so bad. If I think back I did on occasion have a "hairlike" sensation in my throat, which never lasted long enough to be of concern or need a medical opinion. It is only since I gave up smoking that the problem has been such an issue. Yes I should go get a proper diagnoses and not a Google diagnoses or go back to my GP and tell her the Nexium does not work, I tried making an appointment with a Ear Nose & Throat Specialist, because you need a referral, but one of our Clients works for an ENT - she can get me an appointment for the end of May - seriously!!! For now I will try and treat the GERD with natural remedies and diet - I can only try.

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