Rather than do a follow up on my old thread, I have decided to begin a new one. I have learned much during the past three months, and I hope many of you can help yourselves in similar fashions.
I know for certain that I should never have been put on PPI medication in the first place. I would have been better served by a physician who was willing to examine my lifestyle as much as my stomach and esophagus. It is just so easy to prescribe PPI medication, and it is so wonderful at masking symptoms, that it seems like the answer to almost all digestive problems.
The only thing that my pre-PPI tests showed was a mild chronic inflammation in my stomach. The drugs did nothing to alleviate the inflammation, in fact they masked it so well that I was able to continue doing whatever it was that caused the inflammation for an extra year and a half. That is, untill my first attempt to kick the medication caused rebound acid that exacerbated the problem. Even when I went back on Nexium, I still suffered constant symptoms.
For most of the last 3 months I have been trying supplements and over the counter remedies. Mostly hit and miss. It is tough to get over the rebound period, but when you do, you finally have a chance to try and learn to live with the problem.
I don't have a an over or under production of acid, in fact I am convinced that my acid levels are quite normal. What I have is an inflammation that is constantly being irritated that creates my discomfort. That discomfort includes mild burping that sends acid northbound. I get a small amount of burn from that, but not like a true reflux sufferer. If you have proven reflux and any kind of erosion, my remedies are likely not for you.
After much use of h2 blockers, pepto bismol, gaviscon, enzymes etc... I am nearly free of all of them. The problem for me was that I continued to live the same lifestyle while taking them, hoping that one of them would be the magic bullet for me. The only magic bullet is to stop ingesting whatever it is that causes the inflammation.
Surprise surprise. Alcohol, diet coke and coffee. You keep reading about them, and you don't want to give them up, but you must. Coffee was easiest for me to give up. It always gave me indigestion. Interestingly, while on Nexium for a year I began drinking coffee daily again. I was sending fuel to the fire! That went first. It was only when I stopped drinking alcohol and diet coke that I stopped suffering! The inflammation is still there, but it is only mildly discomforting now. I miss my liquid vices terribly, but I feel so much better now, physically and mentally.
I have read many threads on this forum, I have taken many things people have tried to heart. Some of them work so well, that I can't believe my doctors never told me about them. First. Sleep on your left side. It works. If you are on your right and are refluxing, switch over to the left. Give it a day or 2 and you will see that it works. Buy a bottle of DGL black licorice tablets and suck them like a candy whenever you feel the need. They are soothing.
Before I altered my lifestyle, I tried anything I could find hoping for a little relief. One day I took a swig of milk of magnesia. Instant relief that lasted a few hours. The problem for me are the other things that M of M do so well, cramping etc... My wife has osteopenia and takes Caltrate chewables every day. One day I took one for fun. Instant relief!
I used to wonder why I would wake up in the morning, twelve hours after my last meal, and then within 15 minutes of arising I would get a bit of burping and feel some burn. Its the inflammation acting up once my body would start its daily routine. I now take a Caltrate first thing in the morning and it clears right up. I take another one just before bed, sleep on my left side, and I have been having the most restfull sleeps in a long time.
I don't know if my inflammation will ever be cured, but just knowing what makes it worse makes it easier to live with. Will I completely eliminate alcohol from my life? No. I will just eliminate it from my daily life. And, if I know that I will be in a situation of social drinking, I will probably take a Zantac before to help smooth things out for the next day. I think I can live without diet coke without truly feeling that I am giving something up.
For those of you on this forum who have the same chance that I do to get better, I urge you to knuckle down and change your lifestyle. Hard as that is, your changed lifestyle will soon become your current lifestyle. Only by eliminating things from your diet can you really learn what is causing your discomfort. Continuing to take nexium will only mask the problem for an indefinite amount of time. Eventually the inflammation issues will overwhelm the medications. For those of you at risk in your esophagus, please do not go off your medication. You are the ones that the drug most benefits.