Reflux and asthma?

I was diagnosed with asthma a year ago brought on by a chest infection. Since then I have been on Fostair, Spiriva and Salbutamol. I have to take montelucast from the start. In addition I have a nasal spray and cetirizine. I also take Omeprazole and Peptac acid. Oh yes ... and I take theiCal-D3. Which to be honest, none have made a great deal difference. I have been prescribed short courses of prednisolone 4 times, which helps to get be back on track.

A year on, I still have the phlegm issue, which is pale cream rather than green; the cough, which fluctuates but is always there at night and first thing in the morning; and finally I have blocked nose, so I constantly sound like I have a cold.

My last visit to the respiratory consultant, or rather his registrar, it was suggested my problem was reflux. I have never had reflux in my life. I have taken the reflux medication for the past year with no noticeable change, so I am doubtful. However, in the middle of December, I am having a 24 hour ph test to see the level of acid in my gut.

After that essay my question is am I right to be sceptical about my issue being reflux?Wouldn't I have had some acid symptoms at some point?

6 Replies

  • Not necessarily. There is a condition known as silent reflux which can produce asthma like symptoms without causing heartburn. It's happened to me in the past. I was having breathing problems and assumed it was asthma because that's what it felt like (and at the time I'd had asthma for forty plus years). My peak flow wasn't showing any meaningful drop; I was on maximum doses of asthma medication but nothing was working. There were two things that were atypical however: 1) eating food seemed to be triggering the problem and b) exercising seemed to help (I do have exercise induced asthma). Eventually in desperation I made an appointment at my local GP practice. It was a locum I saw but he spotted that I had a history of digestive issues and suggested that it might be reflux connected. I was put on a month's course of lanzoprazole - problem solved. So yes, it's possible to have reflux and not be aware that you're having it.

    Manometry (the probe going in to your stomach) is currently being considered for me (though not for asthma like symptoms). As I understand it (and I might be wrong on this) it doesn't just measure Ph levels, it looks at other issues that might be contributing to reflux.

  • Hi Maghar, I am the same. Reflux treatment given and it seems to have worked. I can now lie down to sleep most of the time. I have severe asthma and on nebs at home, spiriva, salbutamol, ventolin and montelukast tabs. Was diagnosed two yrs ago. I I had no idea I had reflux either. Hope this helps. Stay well x

  • Suggest strong probiotics to stop any more chest infections

  • For two years I kept going back to the doctors with breathing issues and he just upped my inhaler and said it was my asthma. Then I got pain in the centre of my chest plus the breathlessness. In the end I insisted I had an endoscopy which I did and I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia and Barrett's Oesophagus. I am now waiting for biopsy results but it proves the doctors are not always right and are quick to blame asthma when it was clearly something else. I am wondering lately if asthma inhalers cause digestive problems? Lots of people who have asthma have reflux and I feel there is a connection.

  • I think your right about the inhalers contributing towards reflux, they relax the airways, so they must relax your stomach as well allowing acid to come up (I don't know the technical terms) I am asthmatic and have bronchiectasis, I suffer from reflux. I take lansoprazole, which helps.

    I have started to take silicolgel ( from Holland and Barrett) when needed and that helps.

  • Having re-read your post, I'm wondering about the blocked nose and the cough at night and first thing in then morning. That sound as though mucus from your nose is working its way into your lungs during the night and irritating them. It's not uncommon in asthmatics. Do you have a nasal spray or nasal decongestant you can use to help with this?

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