Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Monday, 07 November 2011 08:24 AM

Question: I’ve been having some symptoms that seem unrelated, but I’m sure there is a common thread. I do not eat fast foods except on rare occasions, don’t drink coffee or sodas. I do drink bottled water, decaffeinated green tea, and almond milk.
I take nutritional supplements for blood pressure (potassium, hibiscus, magnesium, powdered magnesium/calcium); powdered vitamin C and a probiotic. I try to eat one salad per day, Greek yogurt, fruits and veggies. I am 63 years old, so I know there is probably some nutritional deficiency going on.
I belch after eating or drinking anything, I'm bloated and have gas, and I have a constant dry mouth. I also have almost constant postnasal drip and coughing, I'm constipated, have occasional headaches, and suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). I have breathing issues — my nasal passages swell — and I'm overly sensitive to fragrances. Can you help?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Your elaborate supplementation regimen has clearly failed. Most of your symptoms seem gastrointestinal, possibly GERD with reflux and possibly an allergic/sensitivity background. A colon disorder may need to be considered also.
Be sure there is no cardiac, lung, or internal diseases that could be contributing factors. It is always wise to assume there may be other conditions contributing, so a cardiac screening workup would often be recommended among other conditions that need to be evaluated for. A change in bowel habit is also concerning for colon disorder or even malignancy.
Start with a good general history and physical evaluation by your primary care physician. Both of you should select recommended backup studies. This would be a good time to start afresh and eliminate all your supplements now. Replace only those you truly need.
This is no time to be guessing. You have guessed incorrectly before and will likely repeat this if you fail to obtain professional guidance. Do not self-diagnose and self-treat, and this includes the use of over-the-counter supplements.

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