You are not a doctor, but you can hopefully help me determine which kind I need to go to.
Over the past few years some weird symptoms have been getting worse and worse. It's now to the point that it annoys family and coworkers so it's time to get things checked out. (Also, logically speaking, something that appears and steadily worsens is probably worth checking out, hm?)
Problem is, I don't know who I need to see. Maybe you don't know exactly who I need to see either, but I'd at least like some ideas and thoughts before I go in to my PCP (who I've never actually met -- recent insurance switching means I have new doctors) and lay things out for her.
So there are two threads here.
(a) I've found that I appear to be lactose intolerant. I've always hated milk anyway, and switched to soy milk in college for cereal and such, but continue to eat cheese and ice cream and so on. Since college I found myself coughing a lot immediately after eating dairy products and experiencing increased gasiness. Symptoms are somewhat alleviated when I take Lactaid. Figured I had it all under control, though that may just kind of be a placebo effect for a nonexistent intolerance, because...
(b) ... over the past year or so I noticed I was coughing like crazy after eating things I knew didn't have dairy, like a lot of Asian foods, the tea I drink in the morning, etc. The coughing became not just coughing but incessant but unproductive throat-clearing, as well as the sniffles, lasting up to an hour after I've eaten something. My coworkers can tell when I come in each morning because the sniffling and throat-clearing starts emanating from my cubicle. It's pretty bad. Through some googling, I think maybe it might be LPR
? But I never actually have heartburn. I've tried self-medicating with some OTC PPIs, which sort of seems to help, but doesn't actually fix the symptoms.
Other possible relevant point: I have no history of seasonal allergies and experimenting with OTC allergy meds have no noticeable effect.
(1) What kind of doctor do I need to see? ENT? GI? An allergist even though I don't think that's it? Something else? Multiple?
(2) Does anyone else have experience with these symptoms? Did doctors send you on any wild goose chases, before arriving at your actual diagnosis, that I should watch out for?
(3) I freak the hell out at most medical procedures. Reading that testing for LPR involves things down my nose and throat incites a small amount of panic in me. If I do end up going in that kind of direction (or other similar procedures are needed with other doctors) any advice in handling them without too much anxiety?