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Thread: Severe heartburn attacks :(

  1. #1

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    Default Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Since pregnancy I have been having severe heartburn attacks (2 years). Before pregnancy I had never experienced it. Ever. It is excruciating. My hands start to tingle because I'm pretty sure I start to hyperventilate. They started lasting around 20 minutes, grew to 45 minutes and this last one a few days back lasted 5 hours and landed me in the 24 hour clinic doubled over in pain I can't move or talk in the peak of it.
    I am having some tests done, first lot came back negative a few months back. But after last weeks marathon of pain I am investigating further. Don't think it's GERD because I only seem to be having them every 3 months or so. And theres nothing in particular that sets it off either. I'm so confused.

    Has anyone else experienced something like this? And was it after pregnancy?


  2. #2

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    I have also read it could be related to gallstones.....

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Hi Tasha, it sounds a little like gallstones, which can be tricky to nail down. Has the dr done liver function tests & an ultrasound? Also, they should do a hydrogen breath test to check for tummy ulcers. If all of that comes back clear, ask about biliary spasm, which be a bit random but can also be set off by medications like codeine among other (random) things but behaves very much like gallstones. When I was having gallstone attacks they always felt like bad reflux at the start before getting worse.

    I also had GERD for a while and found gaviscon to provide the best immediate relief. Longer term the dr might put you onto Zantac or nexium which reduces the amount of acid in your tummy. But if they find any evidence of liver/gallbladder issues, and especially if the attacks have a squeezing or spasm sensation with them, try taking buscopan, it works better than any kind of painkiller for gallbladder attacks.

    Hope you get some answers soon

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Also - gallstones are very common in & after pregnancy. Risk factors: 4Fs - female, fertile, forty or fat! LOL

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Thanks Marydean. I did a breath test a few months back and it was negative, but I am doing another one. This time it's with Melbourne Pathology rather than at the GP. They explained that you need to be antacid and antibiotic free for the test to be accurate, which I don't think i was for the last test. The GP didn't mention that part. I'm also having a stool test and I think an ECG. In the meantime I'm freaking out it's going to happen again. I do have spasm sensations too so got some buscopan after my last attack.

    So many issues since pregnancy! All these weird things keep happening to me argh

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    I had my investigated with a gastroscopy, I gave a hiatus hernia, it's very common, I use nexium if I get an attack.

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Olive, I have Nexium at home, but don't take it daily. It doesn't seem to work on easing an attack

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    My understanding is that you need to take it daily for a number of weeks,

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Yeah, nexium (and similar) work based on taking it regularly rather than busting it out if/when you have an attack. You might want to check the best way to use it with your dr or pharmacist,

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Have you had an ultrasound Tasha, especially of your gallbladder, it does sound like gallstone pain

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    I developed severe gastritis in my second two pregnancies. So painful that I ended up in hospital on morphine. Had gallbladder tests etc and it was def not that. Nothing (that doctors suggested) worked... but then I changed to a low GI diet and started taking really good quality probiotics to try and address other things and I never had another attack. Well worth a try - even if they don't do the trick for your pain, both can only benefit you and bubs!

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Quote Originally Posted by minniemouse View Post
    Have you had an ultrasound Tasha, especially of your gallbladder, it does sound like gallstone pain
    No I haven't minniemouse, my GP appointment is next week so I will def mention it. I'm kinda hoping it is just so I can get some answers! lol



    Santosha, glad the low GI has worked for you. I have already omitted refined sugar out of my diet (well mostly anyway) and it is sooo hard. But I might look into low GI too. Ugh, just want to eat whatever I want!


    I am terrified of having another attack I am barely eating anything but toast. And I am cutting out dinner in fear of eating 'too late'. No tomato, no spicy, no alcohol and so on. Especially because I can't take anything until I have these tests done.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    I got diagnosed recently with gallstones and it was excruciating pain that led to the ultrasound, I'm on a waiting list for surgery now, hope they can sort out what is going on with you !

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    I had similar painful "attacks" over the last 16 months which, towards the end, were lasting up to 10 hours each time. I would only get the attacks every few months or so. I ended up having an ultrasound as the GP was concerned at the intensity of the pain, and the ultrasound revealed a large gallstone. I survived on fruit and salad for a month before surgery could be scheduled, had a very fast recovery time and am now pain free.

  15. #15

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Mistyfying I am scared of the surgery, in fact I haven't sent the papers in yet, I had surgery last year on a broken finger but gallbladder removal seems far more complicated, were you just in overnight ?

  16. #16

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    Part of me hopes it is gallstones just so I know once it's gone, it's gone! My sil has similar stomach issues and has to take Somac every single day. She can't eat certain everyday foods either. I'd really hate to have to rely on tablets. Like minnimouse, I too am interested in the surgery....how was it?

  17. #17

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    I've had my gall bladder out. It was quick and easy and I had minimal pain levels. I was only in overnight and only needed Panadol/neurofen for pain relief. Some people seem to have issue with shoulder tip pain from the gas (it's keyhole) but I didn't experience this. I had experienced recurring heartburn issues as well, but I think mine was my undiagnosed coeliacs.

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Severe heartburn attacks :(

    It was keyhole surgery so usually in for one night only. Unfortunately my gallbladder was very inflamed and had become a lot worse in the two weeks from ultrasound to surgery. So it was a longer procedure and they kept me in an extra night to monitor my blood pressure and recovery (both fine). I didn't need any pain medication after the first day, and just took it easy with heavy lifting etc for a couple of weeks. The discomfort of a day with a drain in (don't know if they do that to everyone or just mine as it took a bit longer) was well worth it compared to the pain of the gall attacks.

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