First of all I'd like to say that I have read the replies to my previous posts, and taken them to heart. I'd like to personally thank everyone who has offered their support so far. However I cannot take these replies to my head, as right now it is illogical to say that I have anything other than LPR, also known as Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease or Silent Reflux. For anyone worried about this sort of disease, I truly apologise and advise you not to read on as what I have typed may be disturbing or cause you anxiety..!
Looking at the professional websites for diseases such as NHS, WebMd and Cleveland Clinic, I match every symptom to do with the disease. These include:
- A constant stream of mucus/post nasal drip in my throat, but not in my nose. Usually worse when I wake up or immediatly after eating. Hot water, cough medicine etc do nothing to it and I think it causes a sore throat first thing in the morning
- Mucus stuck in my throat. Same problems as above. Very annoying..!
- Constant cough. It isn't forced but it needs to happen due to the stuck mucus.
- Burping, even after drinking water. It usually causes more mucus to be produced, so surely I'm bringing up pepsin?
- Bloated feeling after meals larger than, say a bowl of breakfast cereal. This is highly annoying as I used to be able to eat a lot..! It sometimes causes palpitations.
- Feeling of gas moving/gurgling up throat whenever I cough, breath in or bend over. Not quite the same as burping this.
- Shortness of breath, this only goes away if I become bloated.
- Burning sensation at bottom of throat, usually kicks in when most gassy and goes away while eating. This is probably the most worrying symptom., as it can even happen if I don't eat anything at all, sometimes first thing in the morning.
- Anxiety/Racing thoughts only kick in when the above symptoms do.
Now recently I had an endoscopy and a barium swallow. Both of these are clear, however 85% of people with LPR have clear tests like these, so they prove nothing. I admit I have tried 'Googling' again, but can find nothing that suggests I have anything else other than LPR. Even this very forum is fond of saying I am likely to have LPR, although some people get it mixed up with GERD. To try and relieve my anxiety I have assumed the worst; I make myself believe I have LPR and have therefore tried adhering to the treatments for it. That means PPIs, H2 Blockers, Traditional Remedies, Diet Changes and Lifestyle changes. However these aren't working at all. Here's everything I've tried for the last 7 months and counting:
- Diet restricted to ludicrous levels such as bran flakes, salmon, potatoes, chicken salad, garlic, nuts and seeds and other bland foods. No citrics, caffeine, chocolate, mints, alcohol or tomatoes and very little sugar or dairy. No effect, even on days with NO sugar or dairy.
- Lifestyle changes include raising the head of the bed, exercising more, eating less more often, getting more sleep and stress relieving techniques such as antidepressants, hypnotherapy and CB. No effect, except for 10 minutes after hypnotherapy maximum.
- Traditional remedies such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda/sodium bicarbonate, increased water intake, throat lozenges, ginger, manuka honey and natural liquor ice. No effect. The well known "baking soda test" suggests I don't have acid reflux, and yet the problems continue.
- Medications such as Setraline, Diazapen, Lansorprazole, Omeprazole (both PPIs at double dose), Ranitidine, Gaviscon Advance, normal Gaviscon, Tums and others I can't remember. Only Gaviscon Advance has any effect, and it's very little but it also makes me more bloated. Otherwise, no effect.
LPR is caused by the stomach enzyme Pepsin. And Pepsin is well known for causing esophageal/larynx/lung cancer. In fact more people with LPR are likely to get cancer than those with GERD. Just ask Dr. Jamie Koufman, a resident expert in the field. Yet even she can't begin to figure out how to cure this disease, beyond ideas such as alkaline water and diets that resemble that of a locust. Worse still these "cures" don't work for everyone, and it is notoriously difficult to diagnose LPR. ENTs can check your throat and voicebox for damage, but other diseases besides LPR can do the same kinds of damage. Furthermore 24 hour PH tests - the usual gold standard for diagnosing LPR - need to be specialised (double-probed) and don't always pick up LPR either. Even the latest medical advancement - a rapid spit test by a team called "Peptest" - is only 80% accurate, and may not detect LPR if reflux only gets the throat and not the mouth or voicebox.
Still with me? It feels good to get all my information-overload off my head and fingers. LPR is a terrible disorder, one that only people with the disorder can truly understand. It is the CAUSE of anxiety in some people, but anxiety alone can't cause it. It's down to a physiological malfunction which tests like the ones I've mentioned seldom find since the patient needs to be starved and therefore cannot show 'realistic' results. There's certainly no doubt my anxieties will make the disorder worse, but there's no way to get LPR off my mind. It has completely taken over my life: even if I wasn't worried about it, strictly speaking it would have taken over my life anyway. I can never be the same person again - the kind of guy who could eat a healthy diet with the occasional sweet-treat without wondering how terrible my symptoms will be afterwards. Unless of course all those symptoms really are down to anxiety alone. Surely not? I mean I've tried checking as many anxiety books and websites as possible, and none of them say anxiety can be a cause. In fact many of them seem to support the idea of me having LPR, and not "natural" (for longing for better word) anxiety.
Rant. Over. Almost.
Thank you for sticking with me. If anyone can offer me any insight as to how to get my life back on track, as well as whether I've gone mad and all these symptoms really can be anxiety based, I'd truly appreciated it. I'm no longer utterly "end me now" depressed as I was before, but if things keep up this way I'm pretty sure I will be again. ;(