My Journey With GERD

At the very beginning of my diagnosis with COPD, I began feeling the symptoms of bloat. It felt like I was in a constant state of fullness and feeling of being bloated.

It happened especially after I consumed a meal. Eventually, I was unable to actually eat too much of anything that was nutritious for fear of choking.

A journey from bloating to diagnosis

The fact of the matter was that I had retained a lot of water, and I didn’t even know it. In fact, the first week that I was in ICU and with the help of diuretics, they took 20 pounds of water off me and another 10 lbs. in the remaining month. The more this water was retained, the more bloated and fuller I felt.

We don't always realize what is happening to us or why it is happening. So, for me, I always had a bit of a stomach, and being decommissioned as I was, it was a belly.

No matter how much belly I had, my torso was always flat. However, as time went on, I started to see that it was no longer flat but very large.  I looked to be nine months pregnant.

It was my ignorance and the fact that it took me so long to get a diagnosis. I was surprised when this was happening, and so I started trying to lose weight by exercise and diet.  Of course, it was a futile attempt because my weight gain wasn’t caused by fat but by water.

Heart failure and GERD

I was diagnosed with heart failure, and most of the symptoms I felt could be explained away by saying it was my heart causing the problems, but it never got any better. I accepted this diagnosis for far too long. Then one day, I went to an Ear Nose, and Throat specialist, and he put a scope down my nose and diagnosed me with GERD.

While this is a common co-morbidity of COPD, doctors are only starting to recognize the powerful effects of GERD. According to an online website, it is estimated that ½ to 2/3 of those with COPD have developed or will develop GERD. This is a staggering amount of us. What I assumed was bloat turned out to be a far more serious issue, and yet nobody talked to me about it.1

In fact, when I was diagnosed, I was so stunned that I didn’t even ask him questions about it or ask for medication to calm my GERD when it acted up.

When stomach contents move up the esophagus, it causes damage to the esophagus, the throat, and the respiratory tract. It can often impact breathing and swallowing. People diagnosed with Gerd may have a lower pulmonary function.

I wonder why more people are not talking about GERD and why my doctor has never asked me if I have symptoms. Start the conversation and advocate to help yourself.

Do you have GERD? How were you diagnosed?

Share in the comments below so we can learn from each other.

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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