(I had tried to post this without registering in the gastro forums, but decided to register and put it here)
21, male, healthy. Started drinking a lot when I turned 21. Hard liquor, straight, on and off for awhile. Settled down with wine almost daily. Around June 1st bought a couple bottles of brandy, finished them off, straight, about June 5th. June 6th, bought a bottle of gin (never had gin). Upon drinking the gin (mixed with ginger ale and lemon juice) I started feeling like I needed to take a deep breath. Woke up the next day to burning between my collar bones and a feeling like I need to take a deep breath every 3-4 min.
Doctors did blood work, ekg, esophagram (barium swallow test), listened to my lungs, and ruled out any hiatal hernias. They suspect GERD, but I've never had GERD or any GERD-like symptoms my entire life. I eat spicy foods too, and never experienced this. Doesn't hurt to swallow, but air (when I breathe) irritates it. I no longer need gasping deep breaths, but simply unnoticeable sighs through my nose. I get out of breath faster.
People have said this is acid reflux and that it may be permanent, but I have a hard time believing that some frequent drinking has landed me a chronic reflux condition that will never go away. I am leaning more towards the idea that this is a temporary stomach problem that will eventually go away.
It gets better when I lie down (contrary to what GERD sufferers report). The burning between the collar bones is close to my throat, I never have any chest/stomach burning ever. Read about Laryngoesphageal reflux, and I don't have any hoarseness or voice problems. Although I do have a minor cough that accompanies the collar bone burning.
The burning is not a stinging feeling, it is that feeling you get between your collar bones after you've ran as fast as you can and you can't run anymore. You try to catch your breathe but with each exhalation you irritate something and you get that feeling smack dab between you collar bones. That's the exact feeling I'm feeling.
I also burp a lot now (not belching, in fact you wouldn't even realize I was doing it, more like a silent gassy burp where I don't even have to open my mouth).
I intend on going for an endoscopy to rule out reflux.
All of this just hit me in one night (June 6th). No prior warning signs, not a single one, and I am very in tune with my body. They put me on prilosec thinking it was reflux, and it did not help. Antibiotics did not help either.
I'm used to never worrying about my health ever, so this is extremely psychologically stressful. I find myself looking at objects in my house, favorited videos on YouTube, and writings dated before all this started, while thinking "I felt so different when I watched/wrote/saw that". This entire situation has totally thrown me off mentally. I've stopped drinking completely as well and have been eating smaller meals and no spicy food in order to rule out any type of reflux.
I do not like the idea of taking pills, and I already have made up my mind that I will not go on any PPI's or have any types of surgery, as I have heard so many horror stories about these procedures and methods, as well as dependencies.
Again, when I want to know something, I go all out. So I've become a semi-guru on Acid Reflux over this past month. I can say for certain that I am missing a whole lot of the common patterns that usually signify symptoms of GERD, but I cannot rule out the possibility that this is a stomach problem, I just think it may be something more temporary than chronic.
I have no history of anxiety, no history of panic attacks, no history of hypochondria or paranoia. I am weirded out by these symptoms and they are causing me a great deal of unease. My sense of well-being has been shaken. I am usually a care-less and extremely confident person, but I find myself acting more "clingy" and "unsure" after worrying about my health. I can't get my mind off it and when I do, I still realize that I don't "feel right". I also get a spaced out feeling after I eat now, like nothing is real.
Every time a test comes back ok, I get worried even more, since I want them to find something and tell me that it will go away, instead of finding nothing.
I know this isn't mental, as I have never had this happen before, nor have I ever cared about my health as much. I've had toe nails removed due to infected ingrown nails. I've had stitches due to large lacerations, and was so lackadaisical about it, that I never even took the antibiotics. Something is wrong, and the fact I can't figure it out is driving my insane. I don't want a chronic problem.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
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