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Thread: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remedy?

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    Active Member dsyphers's Avatar
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    Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remedy?

    Has anyone else experienced this? I have never in my life (52 yrs.) had any problem with heartburn or acid reflux. But often when I'm doing my swim practices, and pushing hard, I get something like acid reflux - a slight burning in my esophagus. At times it persists throughout the day. I never have a problem on days I don't practice. I've thought of experimenting with calcium pills before workouts, since I know working muscles hard uses a lot of calcium, but I have no basis for thinking that is related.

    I'd be interested in any thoughts on its cause, remedies, etc. It's a minor annoyance, but striking for me since I've never had problems of this nature ever before.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Solutions?

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    Very Active Member Muppet's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    Sounds like you work out in the morning - is this the case?
    Either way, do you eat beforehand? What are you eating? Certain foods can help exacerbate the situation, and sometimes you just need to be a bit smarter about what you eat as part of the meal (or snack) before you swim. If you aren't eating beforehand, that can be bad too. A small granola bar or like snack can help keep the acid down where it needs to be.
    man up, buttercup!

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    Active Member dsyphers's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    I practice at noon, always eat in the morning (cereal or toast with peanut butter), and don't eat for about 2 hours before workouts. It often persists after I eat lunch following the workout. I've varied the morning intake leaving out milk or coffee to see if it is worse or better, and see no pattern yet. The only constant is that it's there when I push really hard in practice.

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    Participating Member ImFree's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    It happens to me occasionally. I try to keep some antacid around. Pepcid Complete works great.. stops it immediately, and it does not come back.
    Mark.

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    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    Some times the burning comes from too much alkaline in the stomach. I always had truoble when I consumed milk and cereal in the morning before swimming I switched to conventional bacon and eggs a few hashbrowns with coffee. No problem after that.
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Very Active Member gull's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    I would recommend that you discuss these symptoms with your physician. You might benefit from a stress test just to be sure this really is reflux and not something more serious.

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    Very Active Member swimcat's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    tagamet

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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    I keep Tums in my swim bag. It seems backstroke bothers me most often. A few Tums seems to work. I think I got this recommendation on the Forum several years ago. If you think about it, turning upside down every 25 yards to flip turn could easily cause trouble.

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    Active Member dsyphers's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    I did a little checking online today, and found out it is probably exercise-induced acid reflux. Apparently the sphincter muscle on top of the stomach, which can get a little weaker with age, is not a match for the pressures that can be created by intense use of the abdominal muscles, often in weight training, running, and so forth. If it really is bad they recommend switching to a form of exercise that is not quite so vigorous, like swimming .

    I will make sure by checking with my doctor next visit, but the recent research on the subject is pretty clear, and it fits with the fact that it is worst when I'm swimming hard and really working my abdominal muscles. It all seems to fit. So I'll take some of the advice above and use an antacid. Like I said above, it's not a major problem - just a minor annoyance and the antacids recommended above will probably be all I need.

    Thanks for the replies and suggestions!

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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    Gull gave some exellent advice as many serious health problems can be masked as "stomach acid". Make that appointment sooner than later with your doctor.

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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    Quote Originally Posted by dsyphers View Post
    Has anyone else experienced this? I have never in my life (52 yrs.) had any problem with heartburn or acid reflux. But often when I'm doing my swim practices, and pushing hard, I get something like acid reflux - a slight burning in my esophagus. At times it persists throughout the day. I never have a problem on days I don't practice. I've thought of experimenting with calcium pills before workouts, since I know working muscles hard uses a lot of calcium, but I have no basis for thinking that is related.

    I'd be interested in any thoughts on its cause, remedies, etc. It's a minor annoyance, but striking for me since I've never had problems of this nature ever before.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Solutions?
    I have experienced the same problems but has affected my vocal cords so that they "spasm" and close after 75 meters of freestyle leaving me gasping for air. I am now taking sprays for post nasal drip and Dexilant for acid reflex but so far not working. My current ENT will arrange a CAT scan of the pharynx and esophagas to see what is going on.

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    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    I have had a couple teammates over the years with the same problem. Gull's advice is no doubt wise, but I personally would tend to agree with your self-diagnosis. If you can get relief from something like Tums, I would go this route instead of the stomach acid blockers like Tagamet.

    The more I travel through life's veil of tears, the more I think the less medical intervention you get, the better off you generally are.

    Within reason, of course.

    Sudden onset of extreme symptoms merit checking out. But vexations like this are probably best self-treated until they become truly significant.

    As Arthur Barsky wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1988: " Each producer [in the 'giant industrial medical complex] tries to convince the public that something is dangerously wrong, or about to go wrong, and that immediate steps must be take to remedy the situation...as a result, many come to feel less secure about their health, more worried about the possibility of disease, more absorbed in trivial symptoms."

    Turn back from well-meaning advice for further investigations!

    Your initial sense of things is almost assuredly correct!

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    Active Member dsyphers's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    Since this thread resurfaced, I thought I would supply a follow-up. When I originally wrote this I had completed my first year back into swimming, and had trained hard for the entire year. I made a lot of progress, and swam some of my fastest times around this point. But I suspect my core muscles were not yet as strong as they would become. After a semi-forced period of somewhat lower-intensity swimming last year (2010), due to other life complications, I am back training hard again. My core muscles are stronger and, thanks to some clinics by SwimWorks (Brad Burnham - our college coach and one of our Masters group coaches), my form has gotten a lot cleaner. I am now swimming sets in workouts that are much faster than anything I've done before in Masters, and pushing at least as hard as I was when I wrote the original post.

    The tag line in all of this is that I haven't suffered anything close to the acid reflux I had earlier. I wonder if I was using my non-core abdominal muscles to try to accomplish things my core muscles weren't capable of (or possibly shouldn't have been doing due to not-so-great form), and in the process putting that large pressure on my stomach's sphincter muscle. It's just a guess, but there have been very few substantive changes in my swim routines otherwise.

    Regardless, I am back to having virtually no acid reflux issues.

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    Very Active Member letsrace's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    Dale, that is an interesting theory. My son and daughter both have acid reflux which is aggravated by training. I didn't think of the core muscles being involved. I may have to add something to their training. Thanks for posting an update.

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    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    http://www.reflux1.com/news/mainstory.cfm/48

    Hard to imagine Mark Spitz in his heyday lacked core strength, but who knows? The conventional wisdom not too long ago was that ulcers were caused by stress. Now it's generally accepted that many, if not most, are the result of bacterial infection--though some are probably also caused by NSAIDs. The fact that Dale's GERD disappeared is interesting, and it's possible that core training had something to do with it. Then again, that could just be a spurious correlation, and something else changed during the time off that is the real reason for improvement.

    In any event, glad to hear you are doing okay now!

  16. #16
    Active Member dsyphers's Avatar
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    Re: Practice annoyance: unexpected acid reflux - cause/remed

    Remember, that was just a guess --- trying to correlate a single change with something that has changed in the interim. It could have nothing to do with it whatsoever. Just because I'm at a loss to think of anything else that could be responsible doesn't mean you should trust my guess. It's still a guess.

    As usual Mike, I'd trust your own intuition with respect to your son's training before I'd give much weight to my guess!

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