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Friday I ended up in the ER due to chest & back pain & pressure. Couldn't get my breath, thought I might be having a heart attack. This occurred about 6AM. Tests for heart attack were negative. Symptoms eventually subsided and I was sent home.My doc thinks it was spasm of the esophagus which can mimic heart attack symptoms. I've been previously diagnosed with hiatal hernia. Still, he is having me do a cardiac stress test just to be on the safe side.Doc gave me Rx for hyosciamine in case it happens again.Anyone else had experience like this?-hb
 

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I sure have. I have awakened from a sound sleep many a time with what you are describing. I've even had the pain refer to my left shoulder and jaw, which is also a sign of a heart attack. The breathing problem you describe is likely due to the anxiety that accompanies this.I knew it wasn't my heart, but it sure is uncomfortable. Several times I've awakened sooner and been able to feel the "ripple" of the muscle contractions high up in my esophagus. Most disconcerting.Here's what I do: stick two fingers in your mouth till they touch the back of your throat, then gently tickle it until you gag. I usually repeat this three or more times. Keep breathing through your mouth while you do this. It will cause a powerful contraction of your diaphragm which should stop the spasm in its tracks. Hopefully you won't have just had a big meal, LOL.I used to think this was just due to anxiety, and it certainly can make you feel like you can't breathe. If you focus on it, you will realize your breathing is fine. I now believe in my case, it is part and parcel of the IBS, which seems to affect nearly my entire digestive tract at times.Hope this helps.
 

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That sounds a lot like what I have going on with me. It started in 1996 after I had my gall bladder out. We tested for esophagus spasms and supposedly it was negative but I wasn't having a spasm at the time of the test so.....????Anyway, my GI has never pinpointed what causes this excruciating pain. I have taken dozens of acid reducing drugs which did not help, I have taken Nifedipine which did not help either. I have taken Nitroglycerin which did not help. When I have an "attack", I immediately get up, walk around, drink water or pepto bismol and sometimes (I think due to anxiety) I have to go to the bathroom.Gasgirl, I have never tried the gagging thing. I will give it a try next "attack" and see if it helps me.Anyway, I know how scary it is. Did getting up and moving around make you feel better? It always helps with me. But mostly I have to drink water to get the pain to leave. The pain hurts so much that it does make me feel like I can't breathe. Almost like I think if I do breathe, it will hurt worse. It doesn't but at the time, I think that.This happens mostly at night but does happen during the day too. Especially if I have to sit or lie still for a long period of time or if my stomach is empty.Let me know what you find out.Jleigh
 

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The pain you all are describing sounds exactly like the reaction I have to sodium meta-bisulfites or sulfites for short. That's the "preservative" in many processed foods, the stuff banned from salad bars (but not from salad dressing), found in wine, balsamic vinegar, maraschino cheeries, many flavorings, crackers, etc. I've found it in most fish, in Reeses PB Cups, yellow cheese. It has completely baffled several doctors. I'm so sensative to it, one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar sent me to the ER with heart attack symptoms. I couldn't breathe or do anything but writhe on the bed in pain. Felt like something under my diaphragm twisted into a knot and lasted for hours. The only thing I've found to stop it (never tried the gagging thing) is one drop of essential oils of ginger and peppermint in a cup of water. Nasty, probably not suitable for human consumption, but when you're desperate, you'll try anything.
 

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I am SO RELIEVED to read your stories. I have been calling these my Phantom Gallbladder attacks. I always thought when I had my gallbladder removed I would NEVER have to have that pain again. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I was shocked, horrified and saddened when the attacks came back, even without the gallbladder! I have had two EGD's, an MRI of the bile duct, and even a CT scan. It doesn't matter. I can't eat anything with saturated fat, like fried chicken, a hamburger would kill me..., Krispy Kreme doughnuts, etc. When an attack starts, it triggers a panic attack, and I'm soon a frantic idiot for 3 hours. Sometimes, just sometimes mind you, 2 Tylenol 3's will keep the pain tolerable, but not get rid of it completely. It usually lasts for 3 hours. My husband tries to be sympathetic but gets irritated because I want to go to the ER. He does not want to pay for this (even though we have Blue Cross...). He says "you know what's going to happen, it's going to go away anyway..."Sometimes things surprise me, like my mom's zucchini bread for instance. My doctor has no answers, just tells me to watch my diet. It feels like someone has shot a missile into my gut right below my rib cage and through to my back or like someone is holding my esophagus in their fist for about 3 hours. Obviously this is a sore subject for me. It REALLY ticks me off that the doctor's can do anything about this!
 

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I have had this exact thing happen to me. Quite frightening and painful. At times I can't even swallow my saliva and have to spit in a tissue. The last time I had a really bad one that I ended up in the ER again, they game me 1mg of Xanax under my tongue. It relaxes the smooth muscles of the esophagus and it really worked quite well. I carry Xanax in my purse at all times now just in case. I find that foods high in fat, bacon, donuts, chocolate and carbonated drinks will bring it on at times. Even positions in which I sit sometimes will bring one on. And you are right, they do mimic a heart attack, referred pain, sweating and all. My doc told me that if I couldn't get the pain relaxed in 20 minutes to go to the ER because it is impossible to tell the difference between this and heart pain without running tests.
 

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Have you tried Pepto bismol or drinking water?Jen, mine are sometimes brought on by the positions I sit in also and carbonated drinks or some fruits or fruit juices. Isn't it weird that nothing can be pin pointed exactly in any of us? I've had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, upper GI, Lower GI, esophageal manometry, small bowel follow thru, ultra sounds, and numerous other tests done but everything looks fine. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad all is fine but what the heck is causing all this pain?????????
 

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Hi all,

I to have this situation I dont wish to put down some approaches. but what I can suggest as a suffer.

a) As a suffer we tend to seek advise from forums, even though I am on one now, I can only suiggest to people that there are some weird suggestions out there. becarefull. to be honest sticking fingers to the back of the throat my help some but can be dangerous and can cause other health issues. though advise is always appreciated.

b) if you dont get help from one doctor, dont let it go , try another. keep going until you get some respite. Keep in mind, that all GI problems, have element "nerve" issues as there is relation between the gut and brain with out the nerves in body working to gether we can not function. With that in mind just because you have Gi Issues doest alway mean you have Anxiety issues. Other medical issue may have caused the brain gut relationship to be disturbed.

c) I hear Anxiety bandied about forums like this and can cause more stress than the stiuation itself. If people arent aware. that when you given " antidepressents it doesnt necessarily you are depressed , they are used on many occassions used to for pain relief. for myself as a suffer of ES, i use one for the pain at night which helps me sleep and and then take a calcium channel blocker through out the day

d) please keep in mind . pain does mimic a heart attack. due to the spasm These spasms do not propel food effectively to the stomach. It can cause dysphagia, regurgitation and chest pain.

hope you get help soon
 

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I have the same problem as well. Sometimes even without eating, I get breathless and unable to breathe well or chest tightening and slight nauseating. I do not have Diarrea but some bloating of my stomach to nearly 2x of size. I have taken Gaviscon, Peptobismol, most PPI, Nexium, Prilosec.. it works but not magic.. it takes time. The strange thing I found is taking Sodium bicarbonate help almost immediately or at least around 10 mins or so. Any suggestions ? I have also gone for endoscopy done last few months and it came back negative and had a special device attach to my throat to test for PH and others.. after which the doctor found my PH or alkalinity to be normal. I am doing Rezaband and it is not working as well.

Can I take Xifaxan (Rifaximin) and will it work? I hear Gerd or SIBO is partly bacterial... not sure. Anyone?
 
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