Hey everyone. I have been having a very rough week, though my symptoms actually started surfacing around June.
Back in June, I started having burping spells that would last for hours. I would burp and burp and burp, two or three times a minute, for quite a while. However, it didn't feel too uncomfortable, and so I took a lot of Pepto-Bismol and Alka-Seltzer. The burping was bothersome, but not really scary.
However, about nine days ago I was on a family trip to the beach when I started feeling horribly bloated. I kept burping constantly, but my chest/stomach felt like an inflated balloon at the point of bursting. I've had that same feeling a half-dozen times over the last nine days, and though I can handle it at home, when it happens to me away from home - on my college campus, mostly - I can't cope at all. I end up holed up in some bathroom, missing my classes while I panic and wish that the pain would go away.
The discomfort seems to come from my midsection - closer to my chest than to my belly-button - and radiates outward. I've had anxiety and panic attacks for over three years now, and I have major heart worries, but less than two months ago I was given a clean bill of heart health, so I try not to worry too much about my heart being the problem. The pain is very close to where my heart is, though. I get other symptoms during the painful bloating too! Nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, the shivers, lots of muscle tension, and a horrible feeling that something sharp is poking around inside my esophagus or stomach or something. It's a hard sensation to explain, but the best 'mental image' of the pain I can share is that it feels like something sharp is stuck in my esophagus somewhere between where my neck meets my torso and the beginning of my stomach.
The awful thing is that the physical symptoms in my chest and stomach are so terrible that they almost always trigger a panic attack. I had plenty of 'vanilla' panic attacks in the past, with no real physical symptoms besides those of a regular old panic attack, and I feel like I had mastered them. From January to July of this year, I had very little anxiety. Now it's back, and I'm always on guard, expecting another 'stomach attack' as I've come to call it.
It's starting to affect my performance at school, and it's making me into a weird sort of agoraphobe. I just hate going to class because it means I'm away from home for six hours, and that is plenty of time for these feelings to strike. And when they do, good luck getting me out of the bathroom stall to go to class, even for an exam!
I've tried to adjust my eating habits but nothing seems to work. I've tried eating very little and I bloat up. I try eating the same amount as normal and I still bloat up. I've had bloating on days where I had lactose, and on days where I didn't. I've avoided carbs for an entire day and the bloating persisted. I'm at my wit's end. I'm tired of feeling like I'm on the verge of some sort of fatal stomach emergency. Ugh. I'm saving up money to see a doctor but it'll be another week before I manage that, so I thought I'd post here and see if anyone has any advice for me in the meantime. Thank you! Sorry for the wall of text.