Patient story - everyday life with GERD
Living with GERD
A patient talks about her daily life with GERD
I am 45 years old and have experienced frequent and bothersome chest pain episodes. Some days are worse, and other days are better. My problem emerged some years back and has been unchanged for the last few years.
In the beginning, I thought about heart disease, but when I sometimes had regurgitation just before the chest pain started, I thought it was more of a stomach problem. I was finally diagnosed with GERD, so at least I now know what is causing the issues I am having.
The disease has been a life changer for my family and me. Even simple activities, like bending over to pick something up or lying down to sleep, cause intense chest pain and sometimes regurgitation. My throat burns so bad, and I’m often burping, trying to relieve pressure. I also get hoarse a lot, and my throat starts to hurt.
The last time I met my doctor, she told me that my difficulty breathing was also a result of GERD. She also said that my GERD might well cause my sleeping problems. I feel like I have no energy and am so tired and exhausted that I could fall asleep standing up. I feel depressed, and it is affecting my job.
My doctor put me on a proton pump inhibitor for eight weeks, which helped, but I still have bothersome heartburn and pain and had to avoid doing activities that triggered it or eating certain foods. After eight weeks on the PPI, my doctor gave me a different proton pump inhibitor which I am trying now, but my symptoms remain.
The doctor said that I should try to change my lifestyle. I felt powerless to hear it as it is exactly what I have been trying to do for a long time. I take some over-the-counter antacids also to help, but they last for a short time. The doctor said that the next time we meet, we could try increasing the dose of the PPI. I wish I could find something that helps with the burning sensation in my chest.
The image above is a generic image chosen to illustrate the symptoms. It is not a picture of the patient telling their story.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is often presented based on repeated episodes of symptoms like a “burning sensation rising from the epigastrium up toward the neck.” It is a common disease in all ages, with a higher prevalence by increasing age. Currently, available therapy is effective but leaves more than half of the treated population unsatisfied.