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Author Topic: GERD is my trigger, let me share  (Read 1234 times)

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Offline Betsy

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GERD is my trigger, let me share
« on: February 14, 2013, 01:25:09 AM »
In high school, I had the weirdest thing happen: I suddenly started getting panic attacks for no apparent reason. They would happen at random times: during dinner with my family, when I was alone reading a book or studying, sometimes when I was at school... but no matter how much I thought/journaled/talked about it, I couldn't figure out what the common thread, the trigger, was.

I have always been terrified of throwing up, so naturally I get anxious when my stomach hurts. All of my panic attacks were accompanied by pain in my upper and mid abdomen, and my doctor thought that was a symptom of my anxiety manifesting itself in what I was afraid of. It turns out, it was the opposite. The acid reflux was hitting my adrenaline gland when it flared up, sending a big wave of adrenaline into my bloodstream. My body didn't know how to handle this, so it manifested a panic attack (the stomach pain and fear of vomit obviously played into this as well). As soon as the doctor explained this to me, my anxiety attacks got much better. I was able to tell myself, "it's just GERD. You're not crazy, your panic attack is a manifestation of physical symptoms, and you aren't going to throw up. You've never thrown up from this before".

The reason the stomach issues/panic issues started at this particular time was because I developed an intolerance to whey protiens in cow's milk. It runs in my family-most of the women on my mother's side have this intolerance, some worse than others. My mom can eat about half a cup of milk products a day now without being too sick, but right now I can't even have 1/4 teaspoon of butter without being in bed for 5 days with cramps. Of course, my comfort foods at the time were all dairy-rich: ice cream, mac n cheese, etc. So when I was anxious, I'd reach for something creamy and starchy, which would only make matters worse by upsetting my stomach all over again, which would upset my adrenaline gland, which would cause panic attacks.

In hindsight, it all makes sense. But at the time, I was so afraid: I didn't know why I kept getting anxiety, and then I didn't know what my stomach was reacting to. For my first year and a half of college, I couldn't eat any of these: soy, fish, nuts, shellfish, sesame, eggs, milk, or wheat. I would try each one, one at a time, for a period of two weeks and see how I was feeling. But it was so hard to keep everything separate and my stomach was so messed up from eating dairy for so long that I was pretty much always sick to my stomach. It finally calmed down and I realized the culprit was milk. I can now eat almost everything again (except for cow's milk), and, though I still get GERD on occasion from other foods, I recognize it for what it is and don't have panic attacks because of it anymore.

I just thought I'd share this, because it is very odd how the human body works. A lot of times we tend to think that anxiety is purely in our minds, but it can be caused by very real and very physical symptoms of our own body-we just have to pay attention and know where to look. Pretty much the only time I get panic attacks anymore is when I am sick with a sore throat, and the feeling of my throat being swollen is similar to the nauseous feeling you get in your throat. I know in my mind that I just have a sore throat, but my anxiety kicks in and I run to the bathroom fearing the worst. I'm working on fighting that fear now, but at least I have the GERD figured out!
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Offline london23

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Re: GERD is my trigger, let me share
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 05:41:34 AM »
im actually starting to realize that my anxiety is due to acid reflux/gerd too...ive noticed that a get adrenaline rushes for no reason when i feel burning and cramps and pains in my abdomen and chest rib areas...iv realized more and more that my adrenaline happens always when i have these reflux aches...so i believe its definately related..thank you for your post.
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Offline Betsy

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Re: GERD is my trigger, let me share
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 08:25:10 AM »
You're welcome, I hope knowing that it's just your body's reaction to a natural (albeit painful and unpleasant) bodily process helps you deal with the anxiety a little!

I'm not on any medications for GERD because mine is mostly caused by my dairy allergy, but you might consider talking to your doctor about options for treating it, and ways to treat anxiety as well.
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Offline erb2525

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Re: GERD is my trigger, let me share
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2013, 09:18:53 PM »
GERD is a demon I have been battling as well.  I was on dexilant for three years until I thought I was okay enough to get off.  I ended up getting a bad throat virus because the acid was eating away at my throat.  This brought on my current span of anxiety becuase of symptoms.  Its an endless cycle between gerd and anxiety.  I feel like getting the gerd in order will limit what anxiety can do to your stomach and acid levels.
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Offline candice

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Re: GERD is my trigger, let me share
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 01:31:59 AM »
im actually starting to realize that my anxiety is due to acid reflux/gerd too...ive noticed that a get adrenaline rushes for no reason when i feel burning and cramps and pains in my abdomen and chest rib areas...iv realized more and more that my adrenaline happens always when i have these reflux aches...so i believe its definately related..thank you for your post.

YOu sound exactly like me.  My anxiety and GERD go hand in hand too.  I get those adrenaline rushes when I sleep!  I think GERD can make it hard to breath too!
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Offline Heli00

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Re: GERD is my trigger, let me share
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2014, 01:40:00 AM »
Although this post is old I wanted to respond because I too have connected gerd to my anxiety.  I was getting weird flI'mip flops in my chest which I thought were palpitations but turns out it's spams due to gerd.  Going through a bad flare up right now but reading these posts has helped me  tremendously.  Also sinus problems haven't helped the anxiety.  Every little pain or symptom causes me to over react and then the health anxiety kicks in.  Ugh it's a vicious circle!
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Offline jswindle86

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Re: GERD is my trigger, let me share
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2014, 03:20:12 PM »
I am in the same boat I was just last week put on meds for anxiety and I have always had pretty bad acid reflux feeling now the acid  seems to be very backed up and my stomach stays very bloated it all leads to me feeling like im gonna choke which makes my anxiety worse but idk if its the gerd that causes the anxiety more or the anxiety that causes the gerd more it really does seem like a never ending cycle
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