The Scourge of Chronic Sinusitis and GERD Combination.
I have suffered for some years with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) sometimes just referred to as acid reflux. The first time I experienced esymptoms I was awoken at night with sever chest pains. I thought I was having a heart attack. After a visit to the emergency room I was diagnosed with acute gastritis. I was awoken several more times and just waited out the pain. Each episode would last about 4 hours, before the pain died down. I subsequently went to my GI specialist and had an upper GI endoscopy. I was diagnosed with GERD and was put on medication to control the acid produced in my stomach.
After many visits to my ENT specialist I underwent the inevitable sinus surgery.
Some time after this diagnosis I quit smoking. I then developed constant post nasal drip, sinus pain, shortness of breath, excessive yawning and I was constantly clearing my throat. After many visits to my ENT specialist I underwent the inevitable sinus surgery. This was absolutely disgusting. I must admit that I did feel better after a few weeks, but I still, however, suffered from sinus problems. Whenever I went from a cold temperature to a warm one, or vice versa, it seemed as though my bronchial tubes closed, making it hard to breath. After I became used to the new temperature I could then breathe normally again. About a year after the sinus surgery I retired and moved to Malaysia. My ENT doctor said that I should see some improvement after moving to a new climate.
A change in barometric pressure is enough to start my sinuses draining and causing me to clear my throat every few seconds.
I did feel better after moving, until recently. I am still bothered by temperature changes, but this time it is a small change from an air conditioned room to a non-air conditioned room. I can have shortness of breath going from the warm humid shower to the bedroom. When I first leave my condo and go outside I have shortness of breath. When I go to the gym I am usually okay as long as the A/C is on and there is air circulation. Of course the locals complain they are freezing with the A/C on. Lately with the monsoons and daily rain and thunderstorms my sinuses are killing me. A change in barometric pressure is enough to start my sinuses draining and causing me to clear my throat every few seconds. According to my ENT specialist the constant post nasal drip triggers a coughing reflex and also causes asthma like symptoms.
It is like a vicious circle…
The interesting point here is that there is a relationship between chronic sinusitis and GERD. It is like a vicious circle, with one causing the other, but it is like what came first, the chicken or the egg. I take medication for GERD but cannot take medication to ease the sinusitis, as I also have BPH. Antihistamines and decongestants cause the prostate to swell, thus causing difficulty urinating. I do frequent saline sinus irrigations, which does help at times. I also have to say that I have IBS in addition to the above conditions. When I am bloated with IBS I also suffer difficulty breathing. I have to learn to live with these conditions, but it is extremely irritating at times. I wish medical science could come up with something that could help me breathe easier. I’ll just have to wait, suffer and see.
Moving forward to 2018 and living back in the Unites States.
Chronic sinusitis update — still suffering.
It’s been over 5 years since I originally published this article, so I thought I would publish and update. I wish I could say I have found a cure, or at least things have improved, but nothing has changed. Since publishing this I have moved back to the US, from Malaysia and have noticed a difference. I can now add the night air to the list of triggers of my breathlessness. As soon as the sun goes down and the temperature drops a few degrees I begin to constantly clear my throat and have more difficulty breathing. When I go to bed at night I have to clear my throat every few seconds, for between a half hour and an hour before I begin to fall asleep.
They look at me like I am crazy…
Since publishing the initial article I have seen a quite a few new doctors and it’s always the same old story. They look at me like I am crazy and suggest I use the same nasal sprays and inhalers I have tried numerous times without any benefit. My latest visit to an asthma specialist garnered a diagnosis of asthma that has progressed to COPD, but so far no new medications have brought much of an improvement. The good news is that the attacks of chest pain I used to suffer with my GERD were caused by gall stones and not GERD. Once my gall bladder was removed the pain disappeared.
My next adventure will be with a pulmonologist who specializes in asthma related COPD. I’m not really holding out much hope, but I have to try just in case I find someone who knows what’s wrong with me and can help. To be continued!