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Bronchiectasis & Heartburn - how to differentiate?

SalvadorBA profile image
19 Replies

Hello again,

I wrote on this forum a few weeks ago that I recently had my first brochiectasis flare up since it was diagnosed 2 years ago, and now I've finished a 14 day course of the AB Doxycycline. I also developed heartburn 2 weeks ago and started on a 2 month course of Lansoprozole. I've drastically changed my diet over the last 2 weeks.

I'm waiting for an appointment to see a bronchiectasis specialist at the Bromptom Hospital in London so I have a question which I'd appreciate help with, as experience has taught me not trust any of the doctors at my GP surgery. How can I tell if my ongoing symptoms (a light but continuous burning with I think secretion in my lower throat/upper chest, intermittent croaky voice/ light breathlessness/nausea, plus general tiredness) are related to the bronchiectasis or to the heartburn, and is it normal I still have these despite taking the above medication? I find it very difficult to bring up any secretion and when I do it is completely clear in colour.

I don't know if I should now be taking any medicine other than the Lansoprazole for my symptoms, or just wait till I see a specialist, whenever that will be. As I've never seen one till now, I'm reliant on advice from this group, which has been very helpful so far. I'd be grateful for any suggestions from people who might have suffered from both conditions please.

19 Replies
Littlepom profile image

Hi Salvador. I guess that you haven't had any replies because it is a hard question to answer. Many people with bronch seem to have symptoms which often turn out to be reflux. I suffered with heartburn, a sore oesophagus and eventually a small split in my eosophagus for years. I had all sorts of investigations and they found nothing. After my eosophagus split I was prescribed 30mg suckable lanzaprozole twice each day and the problem settled down almost immediately.The suckable version coats the eosophagus and stomach and for me it was immediately soothing. I have been taking them on repeat since 2012 and I have no more problems. I have managed to decrease the dose to 20mg once per day.I do wonder whether the antibiotics cause the acid overload or whether the fact that we are emptying our lungs and coughing encourages the acid to come up into our gullet. I hope that helped a bit.

HollyBoyd profile image

Hi Salvador. Not easy to put the finger on what is causing all your discomfort, although, as Littlepom says it could be reflux. I do know from experience that doxycycline definitely gives me an upset stomach and heartburn, which needs Omeprazole for a few weeks to settle. Hope you get to see a consultant soon and things will improve for you xxx

SalvadorBA profile image
SalvadorBA in reply to HollyBoyd

Dear Hollyboyd and Littlepom, thanks to you both for your very helpful answers. Sounds like one of my 3 recent courses of AB might have caused the reflux. It makes sense that the heartburn is somehow connected to the bronchiectasis as I know I had both for the first time ever 2 years ago when the latter was diagnosed, though I assumed it was a coincidence at the time. If it doesn't clear up with the Lansaprazole tablets I'll ask my GP about the other version you mentioned Littlepom. I'm very grateful to you both for putting my mind at rest till I see a specialist . Wishing you both the best of health and a lovely weekend.

normannippy profile image

Hi SalvadorThe heartburn started at the same time you started taking Doxycycline. I found that Doxycycline gave me instant heartburn and even made me sick if I did not take it with food, so could this be a cause?

SalvadorBA profile image
SalvadorBA in reply to normannippy

Thanks normannippy. I'm not sure exactly when the heartburn started as I was feeling so low with the Bronchiectasis flare-up, but what you wrote makes sense and I see that heartburn is listed as one of countless possible side effects of the Doxycycline. Thanks for pointing this out, I'll discuss with the specialist when I finally get to see one!

Ergendl profile image

My previous husband Bob used to get severe heartburn with his end stage COPD. He was prescribed ranitidine and Gaviscon in both liquid and tablet form. Gaviscon is available from the chemist as well as on prescription, but you need to be careful not to take it at the same time as some medicines. It's much more effective than standard antacid tablets, like Rennies, which Bob used to consume all the time from when I first knew him.

SalvadorBA profile image
SalvadorBA in reply to Ergendl

Thanks for your advice Ergendl. I've made a note to try Gaviscon (and Settlers) if the current course if Lansaprazole doesn't do the job.

Bootle-boy profile image

Hello SalvadorI found cutting out all caffiene eliminated the indigestion / heartburn.

SalvadorBA profile image
SalvadorBA in reply to Bootle-boy

Tks Bootle-boy! That's part of my new diet too, still trying to get used to the strange taste of my new coffee and tea too!

jhorsf profile image

exactly the same here , flare up and then the emergency meds give terrible heartburn

lvn0619 profile image

Agree with heart burn symptoms and treatment as recommended. Please see physician or go to ER if burning in throat and chest, nausea and fatigue persist as cardiac origin of your symptoms need to be ruled out.

SalvadorBA profile image
SalvadorBA in reply to lvn0619

Tks for your helpful replies, jhorsf and Ivn0619. Heartburn feeling less severe today so I'm crossing fingers the diet is working. Interesting that the heartburn is apparently related to the latest bronchiectasis flare-up, ir rather the AB. 2 years ago was the same but as my GP didn't and doesn't have a clue, I didn't know there was a connection. Then I slowly started eating normally again and had no issues till this flare-up. Looking forward to seeing a special at last, and I'll ask them if going back to a more normal diet - if this latest heartburn clears up - could somehow increase my risk of another bronchiectasis flare-up. Tks again!

NannyB1963 profile image

Morning Salvador I’ve had Bronchj for 12 years, hope this helps , having a flare up at present. Attended a&e on Friday as Gp were and have been and are quite frankly CRAP , the GP told me in her own words “ haven’t got a clue what to do for you “

Anyway, my voice is almost always croaky, and I get a feeling of a lump at my throat , this is my indicator along with the cough , that it’s “ here we go again “

Ice cream , milkshakes, cream , nuts , crisps are all a Mo go for me, especially KFC gravy lol.

I’ve recently moved , so I have been referred to the new hospital , no doubt my investigations will start again, this is was the consultant at a and e informed me ,

All people are different in their symptoms , but as I said mine most definitely is the voice , or lack of it , along with the coughing.

It’s a horrible debilitating illness, much that not a lot of people can relate to ,

Best wishes

SalvadorBA profile image
SalvadorBA in reply to NannyB1963

Dear NannyB, I'm sorry to hear you're going through this now. I hope you found someone at the hospital who can help you and you've been able to provide a mucous sample so you can get onto AB ASAP, which I've learned now seems to be key. My GP is similarly out of their depth with this condition. I hope you get better soon!

Patk1 profile image

As it started with antibiotics,could b them altho gerd is very common with lung disease.if it was a/b it shld settle now they're finished.the lanzaprole + diet change will help too.i take tablets with food to reduce problems.Re mucous - read up on 'lung clearance techniques' and u may find 'controiled breathing with pursed lips' useful.ALUK have many gd articles u may b interested in x

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to Patk1

Ps settlers r my goto solution if it's troublesome+ omeprazole not enough

SalvadorBA profile image
SalvadorBA in reply to Patk1

Thanks for taking the time to reply, Patk1 . Yes I've been reading up on the lung clearance techniques but I must be a slow learner or just not very good at it! Thanks too for tip re Settlers - last heard of them when I was a child so I'll try the settlers if the Lansaprazole don't do the trick. The Lansaprazole leaflet says to take half an hour before food but I'll ask my chemist re your suggestion. Thanks again.

Patk1 profile image
Patk1 in reply to SalvadorBA

I'd continue with lanzaprole and use settlers in addition when needed Whn u get to see specialist,they should make appointment to see respiratory physio to show u techniques to get mucous up.if not,do ask on 1st appointment.

U could ring yr go surgery to see if they have an asthma/ respiratory nurse who may help u.its not that yr slow learner -- it takes time to learn how to do it.perhaps there's not much there x

poppyshola profile image

Hi Salvador BALike you I have Bronchiectasis with Asthma too but also IBS and very sensitive tummy ... I find that all Antibiotics give me heartburn... I am on Lansoprazole as well as taking Gaviscon Advance ... Gaviscon helps tremendously by reducing the bloating... but I always have on hand and probably find them the most useful, plain and simple Mint imperials and Polo mints ...

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