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Possible Acid Reflux problem - Any help greatly appreciated

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Hi Guys,

I haven't posted here for a while, I'm more of a reader then a 'get involveder!'

I have a bit of a vocal problem ..... About 3 weeks ago I was on tour singing and one night on sound check, my voice went croaky, like I needed to clear it but couldn't. Luckily the Gig was OK but still, not the control I usually have. Since then i've had a couple gigs and it's been an issue. I sing everyday and I feel like I need to constantly clear my throat. It's always worse After singing and when I wake up. It's getting worse. Other symptoms are:

Burning sensation in my throat (worse when singing and after singing and when I wake up)

Sometimes feels like a lump in my throat

For about 2 hours after I wake up I am really blocked up and feel like I have cold symptoms.

Acid Comes up in the mouth occasionally.

Urge to burp during singing (this one is really annoying!)

I had a gum infection and thought the horrible stuff leaking out might have been the problem but i have had that sorted now and the problem is isn't any better.

Anyway, I went to the doctor this morning (she didn't mention acid reflux at all) But to me it seems like it's all the symptoms, although i'm not going to diagnose myself! She referred me to an ENT which I might have to do privately as the NHS waiting list will probably be 6 months (I'm in the UK)

Obviously i'm going to be seeing the specialist but any advice from anyone who has reflux would be greatly appreciated or if anyone thinks it might be something else.

The other thing is, there is no loss of range, It's literally just this feeling of wanting to clear my throat resulting in gravely/horse tone sometimes and struggle to control my voice like I usually can.

Thank in advance

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Be very careful of what you are eating/drinking. Make sure everything is good with your body. If not switch your diet to something much easier on your stomach.

There are times where I would eat spicy food (I've been eating it since I was a kid) and then I got acid reflux and I barely noticed. Forunately I realized and I don't eat too much before I sing, just enough. But after I sing I eat lots :)

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I'm fairly good, diet wise. I do love the spices though, everything I eat i use spices (although not usually hot spicy) I don't drink alcohol (maybe once every couple of months) and have one coffee a day. Always leave at least an hour between eating and singing (and careful about what I eat before singing), and yes, me too, i'm usually very hungry after!!

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Hi Gena!

I've been struggling with a bit of GERD myself. Sedentary lifestyle reinforced by a hernia (recently repaired thank goodness) hasn't helped. I used to often have the throat-clearing sensation without making the connection, but then it got worse and I started having daily bouts of heartburn.

Some internet research led me to conclude that the main culprit is a weak lower esophageal sphincter. It's supposed to close tight when nothing's coming down the pipe, but sometimes it gets flabby and lazy and lets stuff back wash into the esophagus and from there to the back of the throat.

I read some info suggesting that abdominal breathing exercises can help, both by toning the surrounding voluntary muscle, and by creating abdominal pressure for the sphincter to hold against, so I decided to give it a try. I let the abdomen relax, breathe in, then pull it in and tense it up briefly, then relax and release the breath.

So instead of the conventional advice to coddle the muscle, this is training it back into doing its job. I've been trying to do this for a few minutes a few times a day for a couple of months. My heartburn is much better, and the throat-clearing sensation is mostly gone. Maybe a coincidence, but I'm going to keep it up as long as it seems to be helping.

Sometimes if the heartburn is bad, I'll take a very small amount of baking soda in a little water just to neutralize the esophagus, but not enough to interfere with the stomach. That acid is there for a reason!

Ginger and licorice are supposed to be good for GERD; mint is bad. It causes the sphincter to relax.

Don't go to sleep on a full stomach, watch the caffeine and alcohol, blah blah blah... I'm not so good at following the latter advice...

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Nothing I can offer on GERD. Just want to commiserate. We are getting our own version of NHS, where we actually have to pay more than we can afford for coverages we won't need. I was quoted a policy that has a monthly premium bigger than one of my paychecks. If I tried to get a loan or mortgage where the payment was greater than 25 percent of my income, they would politely escort me and then laugh behind my back as I stumble away. But not the fed. Now, the fed is going to require me to purchase a product for something I don't need. I found out why the premium would be so high. Because the policy would have to carry newborn care, maternity leave, and pediatric vision. My wife's daughter is 40, with a child of her own. My wife and I will not be having children. She is past that age.

And we, too, while paying for coverage we don't need but are required by the government to buy, will also have to way for care, when we do go. Now, everyone is going to block the time of doctors and hospitals with the common cold or flu. If they really wanted to help people, they could fix things so that the flu shot is super cheap. Prevention costs less than treatment and loss of productivity.

I guess I have my own GERD. Government Evokes Real Drama.

Just think, if you were not already taxed so heavily to already pay for NHS, you could afford sooner and better care. But the govt just has to take up to half your income to pay for those who "are on the dole," I believe is the phrase you have.

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Hey Gina you are probably doing all the right things. If it's bad all you can do is try ppi's, acid reducers, enzymes, not eating 4 hours before bed, gargling water for like 5-10 min(came across this once from who I forget but might help)honestly give it a couple months it will go away if you watch yourself. I used too freak myself out,now when it happens I just say "ok rough couple weeks ahead" and be extra careful.

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Gina - Sounds like reflux / LPR. I had that occasionally. Nexium or Prilosec gets rid of it - but that stuff is NOT good to take. I modified my diet and would still occasionally get it. I'm totally cured now - never get it anymore. What cured it is taking a digestive enzyme. I take Zypan (by Standard Process) with every meal, but you can take only if you start feeling the symptoms or after a big meal. As we get older our stomaches digest less food and a side effect is reflux. (undigested food can cause other health issues too) There are probably many digestive enzymes that would work, my ND recommended Zypan. Good luck!

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Hey I don't mean to hijack Gina's thread, but I have a question about reflux also.

I've been taking some enzymes for my silent reflux and as I'm sure I've mentioned in past posts I'm 90% where I was before I had signs of reflux (now just have trouble making any kind of phonation above a B5, with anything from G#5 and up not always consistent). Now, I want to try to pinpoint my trouble foods so I can either 1) get my voice back to 100% and 2) not have the need to take enzymes (I'm only 23; seems a bit young to need enzymes indefinitely).

First off is the very likely culprit of tomatoes and tomato-based products. How long should it take before I either notice a change or I can come to the conclusion that tomatoes are not the culprit? 1 week, 2 weeks?

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Are you sure it's acid reflux? I have similar symptoms but I seem to have more sinus oriented problems. Do you have problems with nasal drainage?

Cold symptoms in the morning can be a sign of dust mite allergy from your bed, I have this but allergy covers and allergy medicine didn't really help me (lessened symptoms but didn't really solve anything). I'm going in for some kind of sinus/nose examination next week but have also had a videostroboscopy which came out clean.

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Hey I don't mean to hijack Gina's thread, but I have a question about reflux also.

I've been taking some enzymes for my silent reflux and as I'm sure I've mentioned in past posts I'm 90% where I was before I had signs of reflux (now just have trouble making any kind of phonation above a B5, with anything from G#5 and up not always consistent). Now, I want to try to pinpoint my trouble foods so I can either 1) get my voice back to 100% and 2) not have the need to take enzymes (I'm only 23; seems a bit young to need enzymes indefinitely).

First off is the very likely culprit of tomatoes and tomato-based products. How long should it take before I either notice a change or I can come to the conclusion that tomatoes are not the culprit? 1 week, 2 weeks?

Good question. Yeah you're too young for needing the enzymes due to normal aging. But my 7 year old daughter needs to take them, so everyone is different. You may be predisposed somehow. As far as food goes, I'm not exactly sure but they say to avoid spicy foods - and big meals before you go to sleep. If you still have food in the stomach when you go horizontal, the acids can come up during sleep and irritate the muscles in the larynx. And that isn't related to aging, but how well that valve shuts off the esophagus from the stomach.

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Good question. Yeah you're too young for needing the enzymes due to normal aging. But my 7 year old daughter needs to take them, so everyone is different. You may be predisposed somehow. As far as food goes, I'm not exactly sure but they say to avoid spicy foods - and big meals before you go to sleep. If you still have food in the stomach when you go horizontal, the acids can come up during sleep and irritate the muscles in the larynx. And that isn't related to aging, but how well that valve shuts off the esophagus from the stomach.

it's possible I'm predisposed (besides the fact that singing increases the chance of it happening for everyone), or maybe my love of spicy foods has caught up to me. Unfortunately I realized it makes sense to eliminate everything that is a possible trigger and the enzymes, and see if it clears up, and then slowly add one food at a time to find the culprits. And since I currently don't have my own income I can't really get my family to just buy enough safe foods for me in addition to the regular shopping, so enzymes it is until then.

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I had silent reflux, chronic nasal drainage, repeated sinus infections, congestions, was diagnosed with dust mite allergy and had some breathing difficulties with asthmatic symptoms. Pretty much the works and it was a nightmare as you can imagine. I know all the symptoms described in the OP.

I was prescribed antibiotics for the infections, PPI's for the reflux and steroid nasal spray and drops for the dust allergy and guess what? nothing helped! Symptoms were alleviated for a little while but always came back.

I resolved the reflux problem completely when I found out about and implemented Dr. Jamie Koufman's reflux diet, which is a low fat, low acid diet. It requires some lifestyle and nutritional changes but is so very worth it, and I recommend you google and read more about it.

Being happy by the success of this diet I kept reading and exploring more about the effects of what we eat on our bodies and was very surprised that none of the many doctors I went to see ever suggested dietary and lifestyle changes and instead just prescribed one worthless medication after the other.

Anyway, I adjusted my diet even further beyond the reflux diet to a more vegan based diet (a modified version of the Dr. McDougal diet) and within weeks all the symptoms which plagued me started going away one by one, until they were completely gone and haven't returned since.

Everyone is different, but from my own personal experience, from other people's stories and from lots of reading, it seems that most health problems that originate from our bodies (meaning not an external cause i.e. getting hit by a bus and such) are the direct result of: 1-What we eat 2 - Our lifestyle.

Read more about it, experiment, give it time and find what works for you and I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with the results.

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Life without chocolate? Might as well join a nunnery, right? :lol:

jk

I have found that some dietary changes have made my life more comfortable. When I quit eating ice cream and changed to zero fat milk, I quit getting heartburn. And I got rid of fried foods. And prefer to eat a lunch of yogurt.

I used to weigh 254 lbs. Now, I average 225 to 230 (more in winter, less in summer.) At 6' 6", that's kind of slim on me. So, even at my age, I can maintain my "girlish figure."

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Gina,

Just my 2 cents of advise, as I had it as well. What worked for me, and made it disappear is time to heal. I got that time to heal from lifting my headboard with books so that my bed is inclined. Just putting more pillows didnt help. Also, give yourself at least 3 hours from eating to going to bed, and after you eat, sit up straight, no laying down. Of course no spicy foods.. I also took antacids (tums) before going to bed. It took about a month, but now things are back to normal, and I have no symptoms.

Hope this helps...

Best of luck!

Gilad

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Gina,

Just my 2 cents of advise, as I had it as well. What worked for me, and made it disappear is time to heal. I got that time to heal from lifting my headboard with books so that my bed is inclined. Just putting more pillows didnt help. Also, give yourself at least 3 hours from eating to going to bed, and after you eat, sit up straight, no laying down. Of course no spicy foods.. I also took antacids (tums) before going to bed. It took about a month, but now things are back to normal, and I have no symptoms.

Hope this helps...

Best of luck!

Gilad

Pretty much 100% my experience, yes. Having reflux myself from time to time also due to a hernia. It sounds almost too simple, but it really helps if you just have your throat on a significantly higher place than your stomach during sleep.

Also, from my experience, you want to avoid higher amounts of nuts (!), milk, coffee, cheese and basically any other products that are made out of milk.

Personally, I would still eat before going to bed, though (around 1 hour or so), because sometimes on an empty stomach my symptoms get worse. But you should eat something that "soaks up" the acid in the evening. Bread is always good, and also alkaline vegetables, look here for example:

http://youngonrawfood.com/alkaline-fruits-and-vegetables/

Alkaline fruits are not as good because they build acid first before bringing up the alkaline components.

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in addition to all this great advice....may i offer or reiterate these tips for reflux....which is likely the culprit.

i've had it for many years....

the key is too learn to manage it...

learn to eat meals stopping short of a full feeling.

if you need to, lose weight.

make sure you stop all eating at least three hours before you go to sleep.

sleep on your left side.

try to elevate your bed at least 7 inches at the head...this lets the acid flow back down to your stomach.

avoid acid ...coffee, fried foods, tomato-based foods, orange juice....too much acid.

avoid ppi's (generic...omeprazole) unless your doctor prescribes them for repair..then get off of them...make sure you ask your doctor how to wean you off them gradually so you don't get an acid rebound....

ask your doctor about using galvescon after meals..it puts a foam layer on top of the acid that keeps it down in the stomach.

http://www.gaviscon.com/how-gaviscon-works

many doctors go right away to omeprazole (prilosec, nexium, etc.) if you must take a med....ask him for alternatives like zantac 150.

you have to take the reigns on this.

only go medicinal if you have no other choice.

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thank guys, some more sound advice. Got an ENT appointment in a couple of weeks. Until then I'm cutting out fatty foods and acid foods, i've raised my bed head and cleaned all the bedding (just incase of dust mites) the symptoms seem to be a little better :D

Although i'm a little confused about the foods thing ... am i aiming to eat more alkaline foods? fruit confuses me ... grapefruit, lemons and tomatoes are alkaline apparently but mostly everyone has said to avoid with acid reflux? plus milk is acid but some people have recommended to settle stomach? I'm getting conflicting advice on the web, can anyone tell me about the acid / alkaline balance, is it as simple as eating more alkaline foods?

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gina, it's not sufficient to just clean and vacuum..

get yourself a matress cover specifically for dust mites. a good one will run you $80-$100 dollars....you insert the mattress, completely enclose the mattress.....you then zip it up tight, and the dust mites are confined and imprisoned in the cover.....

money well spent, if you are allergic (and many folks are) to dust mites.

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