A Story of Recovering from GERD

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gerdo
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 7/7/2009 11:22 AM (GMT -6)   

I am a previous GERD sufferer that suffered the condition for over a year.  During my quest for recovery, I swore to share my success story if I ever got better.

 

Over a year ago I was prescribed very strong, injected antibiotics for weeks for an infection. After the third round of medication, I started to show strange symptoms: my upper palate was inflamed, my lymph nodes were swollen, and I felt a large ball in my throat. Worse, I was chronically tired and slept 12 hours a day.

 

My family practitioner was also a gastrologist. He initially suspected thyroid disease, diabetes, or another infection. After several tests though, everything tested negative. He concluded that I was stressed and prescribed sedatives. My fatigue improved slightly but the other symptoms remained.

 

At my next visit he asked me to lay down and jiggled my stomach. My previous meal been 2 hours earlier. The Dr. said that my food was still in my stomach, and that I had slow emptying.  He said that the burning in my upper palate was due to gases from my stomach making their way upwards - the gases were burning my mouth and tearing down my tooth enamel. He said I had GERD and prescribed Motilium (mobility drug) and Pantoprazole (PPI) for two months.

 

I felt well after a month of taking the pills, but as soon as I stopped the medications the GERD returned even worse. I could not stop belching. Every time I burped, I could feel the lining in my upper palate burn horribly. I had burn lacerations and blisters all over the palate. My throat also worsened. The lump I felt in my throat seemed to occupy all of the space. I could barely pass food and at one point even swallowing became difficult. I was constantly hungry because I could not eat much, but my stomach would feel full after just a few bites.

 

I underwent an endoscopy and my Dr. said that I had severe esophagitis and acid reflux - GERD. He recommended a manometry to test the LES ring, which I utterly failed. He confirmed a hiatal hernia and said the LES sphincter was not functioning. The analogy used was that of a worn out waistband on an old underwear. He prescribed two 40 mg Nexium twice a day and all sorts of other medication (pills, jellies) to coat my throat and mouth. Two months later I still did not feel better. Everything was getting worse. At my next visit, my Dr. recommended surgery.

 

I do not take surgery lightly, however common practice it has become. At this point, my weight had dropped from 120 lbs to 90 lbs. I went to three other specialists who all confirmed the same findings. I had a PH 24 test done and failed that one too. Everyone seemed to think the surgery would do it. I tried everything – naturists, anti-candida diets, alkaline diets, etc. At one point, I ate toasted bread and tea alone for days. I slept upright and avoided swallowing as long as I could. Nothing worked. I almost caved, except that I met someone.

 

I was at a dinner one night - avoiding all food as usual - when an older lady asked me why I was not eating. My friend told her my condition. She immediately pulled out her purse and passed me the number to a doctor. She explained that her husband had recovered from a very bad case of GERD after years of suffering from it - he had even been hospitalized several times. He too had been skeptical of the surgery so he kept looking for help.

 

I was doubtful of course, but I scheduled an appmt. The doctor turned out to be very unconventional, but wise. I arrived with a portfolio of studies and tests, but he would not see them, dismissing them as excuses for doctors to charge patients. He only wanted to hear my symptoms. He asked me to lay down and jiggled my stomach and listened with a stethoscope. Then he gave me his theory: my hiatal hernia and LES ring had nothing to do with GERD. Acid reflux is caused when a small muscle at the bottom of the stomach that opens to the intestine clenches up. It is called the Pylorus. When people undergo severe stress or nervousness - like I had undergone a year earlier with my infermity - the Pylorus tenses up. This prevents food from passing into the intestine from the stomach. Eventually, after prolonged bouts of stress, the Pylorus remains clamped. Food will sit in the stomach for hours after eating, giving one a sense of bloating or emptiness. Your stomach produces acid naturally so the stomach fills up on acid since there is no outlet. Your stomach is a muscle designed to pump food out of it. It does not stop pumping because your pylorus closes up though. A full stomach, no outlet, and the pumping action is what causes acid reflux.

 

This was revolutionary for me. And to be honest, I did not believe it. I became even more skeptical when he prescribed me another PPI - Mopral three times a day (6 pills), Motilium (12 pills a day), and Cisapride (12 pills a day). The doses seemed lethal but I remembered the gentleman who recovered under this man's care and went for it. I weighed 85 lbs then at 5'6". I could not eat, sleep (I could not lay down), and I was miserable and in pain all day. I was desperate. I went in every week, and we monitored my organ functions every 30 days. Luckily, there wasn't a flinch in the numbers.

 

I was taking medicine all day long. With all of this medicine it was no wonder I started to feel better in 24 hours. I could swallow again. Breathing did not hurt. Over time, I went back to my regular diet - excluding coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolate, spices, etc. My doctor said I should eat everything - and I found that nothing happened when I included previously banned foods - pizza, light spices, etc.

 

I was on this medicine for 2 months. When we started to wean me off the meds though, I would rebound. The doctor prescribed yoga. I was a believer in him then so I did anything he asked. I did yoga and I started to wean myself off the medicine. I started to relax - though I had never considered myself a stress case. I eventually worked myself down to 2 PPI pills a day and 3 mobility pills a day.

 

The Dr. said that after 2 months I should have recovered, so he was going to have to do a gastroscopy and dilate my Pylorus manually. It is the same as an endoscopy but they go further down to your stomach. A little balloon is inflated with water at the Pylorus and held for 4 minutes. This sort of jump starts the Pylorus again. 

 

After the dilation, I stopped all the medicine. I felt relieved for the first time in one year. I ran to the nearest restaurant and ordered hot chocolate, spicy pasta, etc.

 

I did not feel perfect though. I could sleep lying down at an angle only. Although most of my symptoms had disappeared, I still felt a vague sense of lingering GERD. I made an appointment with the most renown homeopath - a branch of medicine I had never tested.

 

I drove hours to see this man and sobbed my story to him, knowing this was my last chance to recover 100%. He listened carefully and wonder of wonders, reiterated the Pylorus theory. I told him about my last doctor and he agreed with him, but said that his methods were different. He gave me a little bottle of tiny sugared pills to take for two weeks and told me to focus on relaxing. I went on vacation.

 

After two weeks. I was 100% well. I went to my final doctor's appointment for GERD and gave him an enormous hug. He told me to never doubt my body's ability to heal itself naturally. And with that, my chapter on GERD was closed. I turned 32 feeling like I had been given another chance.  

 

It has been half a year now, and I have not had even the slightest GERD symptom. I eat EVERYTHING - I even drink wine and coffee again. GERD seems like something I suffered in another lifetime, but I know it was just around the corner.

 

I wanted to share my story to give hope to those who suffer from GERD. I know how painful this condition can become - it interferes with your life and takes over your emotions. Do not give up. However you find your cure - exercise, job change, medication, surgery, etc - do not give up. Be open to new ideas (within reason) – you never know when your cure is in front of you. Our bodies were designed to heal. In the words of my doctor - "The body is a perfect system. Just as it is vulnerable to disease and illness, it is remarkable in its capacity to heal." Have faith that you will get better and good luck on your journey to better health.

tiger06
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 7/7/2009 12:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Just curious...what were the pills he gave you to take?

noklu
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 7/7/2009 12:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for posting this.  It is always good to know that a cure is out there without surgery.  I am so happy for you that you got your life back.
Maggi
 
anxiety, avascular necrosis, costochondritis, depression, cfs, hypothyroidism, fibro, gerd, thyroid, uc, crs(can't remember stuff)
 
in trying times, don't quit trying          
 


LittlePeanut
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 7/15/2009 2:22 PM (GMT -6)   
GERDO:

Thank You so much for the post its this kind of positive comments that are so good to hear.
Please we would love to hear more details.

LittlePeanut

Glory09
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 7/16/2009 12:14 PM (GMT -6)   
WOW!!! Thanks for sharing your story. I get so happy when I read these kinds of stories....they give me hope! I pray that one day I will be where you are today! Stay well & Good Luck! Gloria

gerdo
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 7/16/2009 10:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your responses! I excluded some important details for the sake of not making my thread longer than it already is....
 
I should mention that the Pylorus theory did not gain popularity in the United States. It was presented by a European doctor before WWII but did not attract much attention because Penicillin was discovered around the same time. My 6th doctor (Dr. Zubiran) is 87 years old now and says he remembers the story behind the discovery. According to him, the individual that discovered Penicillin won the Nobel prize around the same time that the Pylorus theory was presented - 1940s if I recall correctly (I will look in my notes to find the doctor's name and post it later). The discovery of Penicillin took the limelight in the US. Hence, most of the medical community that believes in the Pylorus theory as the cause of GERD is primarily in Europe - specifically France and Germany. A few doctors in Mexico also practice it although most of Mexico's medical community subscribes to US practices/theories. I should add that Dr. Zubiran was seeing several patients that had undergone the Nissen funduplication surgery and it had not worked out well for them. He succesfully helped several of these patients. I still do not understand why some patients do so well with the surgery and others do so poorly.
 
I was fortunate enough to be in Mexico during the end of my first year with GERD. This is where I finally healed.
 
Between the US and Mexico, I had gone to 5 specialists, spoken with 4 surgeons, tried several naturists, tested every diet and Internet gimmick, gone to nutritionists, even saw two psychologists, visited priests, etc. After one year, I had tried everything but surgery and witchcraft. I had lost my social life and close to 40 lbs to this illness at the time. I slept at a 90 degree angle every night for 12 months.
 
My sixth specialist, Dr. Jose Maria Zubiran senior prescribes heavy doses of Motillium and regular doses of PPIs. He believes acid reflux is a symptom of the pylorus closing up so he relies mostly on mobility drugs to heal his patients. I was an extreme case (my acid travelled all the way to my mouth - symptoms included burned mouth, enamel deterioration, chronic cough, dysphagia, wheezing at night, severe heartburn, etc) so my doses of Motilium and Cisapride were pretty high. A friend of mine was recently under his care for a couple of months and is now free of GERD / acid reflux. He was prescribed much less medicine than me and did not undergo the gastroscopy with dilation. It is so important for your doctor to know what doses of which medicine to prescribe. If you recall, I had been on both PPIs and Motilium with my first doctor but the prescriptions were not long enough, or strong enough, so I did not heal.
 
My homeopath doctor (Dr. Barba) also practices in Mexico - Cuernavaca. Unfortunately, most homeopaths are not allowed to practice in the US unrestrictedly so they typically practice under the title of Naturist (although it is different from homeopathy. The naturist route did not work for me).  Dr. Barba studied medicine and practiced in the US for a few years. He was a family practicioner for years before converting to homeopathy. He is one of the most renown homeopaths in Mexico and his patients travel from as far as Israel for appointments. I should add, as I was told by the individual that referred him to me, that he has a very special gift for connecting with people. I did not believe in alternative medicine before becoming his patient so sadly, I waited 5 months before calling him for an appointment. I worked for years in hospitals as a volunteer and most of my closest friends are doctors so I never thought of alternative medicine as more than superstition. I was pretty ignorant. Nowadays if I get sick, make no mistake - my first route is to make the flight to Mexico for an appointment with this man. He books months in advance, but is worth the wait and the cost of travel.  
 
I do not think it should be necessary to travel for GERD treatment though. If you want to try the pylorus theory I would look for a gastro that is familiar with this theory and believes this is the root cause of GERD. Another check point is to ask whether the doctor does gastroscopies with pylorus dilations. Again, very similar procedure to an endoscopy. You don't lose anything from trying it out since, unlike the surgery, it does not alter anything permanently and is not surgery. As I understand, the Nissen surgery is irreversable. The risks for the gastroscopy are similar to the risks of any endoscopy.
 
I asked both these doctors for recommendations in the US but unfortunately, they did not have anyone to recommend.
 
If you want to test homeopathy in the US, my understanding is that many of them market themselves as a Naturists here so you have to ask. The medicine my homeopath gave me was to relax the digestive system's muscles (similar to the mobility medicine). All homeopath remedies are concentrated plant extracts. I was given 4 little jars with different essences at different times. I took this medicine for about one month. I also did breathing exercises 5 times a day. Inhale deeply and hold your breath for 5-10 seconds and then blow out slowly, pushing your stomach outwards (it should feel as if you have a balloon in your belly). Repeat 3-5 times. Finally, Dr. Barba also used to put earphones over my ears and play static music. It sounded like static electricity and was a little annoying. This is to help your mind reset itself and send signals to your systems that it needs to relax. I thought it was funny too, but hey, I wouldn't be writing about it if it hadn't worked.  
 
Well, I want to wish of each of you the best of luck in your process to heal. I know how frustrating this is - I too was told this would never go away, I was told I would take medicine for the rest of my life, I was told all sorts of things. Do not give up on yourself. I think this is the most important part of recovery - believe that it will happen. Please know that I am cheering each of you on, and I will keep you in my prayers. All the best!!!
 
 

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 7/22/2009 10:48:16 AM (GMT-6)


LittlePeanut
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 7/17/2009 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Gerdo:

Thank you for the information could you please share the Herbs or plant extracts that you were given. Being from latin decent our first approach is to go to the teas and herbs for solutions but it would be helpfull to know the names of what the homeopath reccomended.

Thanks Again

LittlePeanut

Glory09
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 7/17/2009 12:29 PM (GMT -6)   

 

Gerdo----Thanks again for the rest of this info. Would you mind posting exactly where in Mexico this Doc is? My husband is from Mexico (San Luis Potosi)....and we go often. Also, as little peanut asked....what herbs or plant extracts that you were given??? Thanks, Gloria


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 7/17/2009 5:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Gerdo,
This is very interesting. I am a huge believer in what's now called Integrative Medicine; the most well known person in this country affiliated with it is Dr. Andrew Weil, who leads the Integrative Medicine Program at the Univ. of Arizona. They also publish lists of doctors trained in his program. I don't know if they believe in the pylorus theory, but it would be interesting to know.

Do you know of any published research on this? Often Germany is a little ahead of the U.S. on these things.

Thanks again!

PaLady

gerdo
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 37
   Posted Today 10:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello,
I do not know the plant essences of what Dr. Javier Barba (homeopath) gave me. But here is his complete contact information. I believe he speaks and writes English very well but doubt his assistant does.
Dr. Javier Barba

The gastrologist/surgeon I worked with is Dr. Jose Maria Zubiran senior (his son also practices in the same office so be sure to ask for the father). He has won numerous awards and accomplishments in surgery, research, etc. He is also an accomplished athlete. I am certain he speaks French and does well with English as he conducted research and studied in the US as well, but I doubt his assistant speaks English.

González de Cosió
Good luck!
 
Edit:  Gerdo, I am sorry for the edit. To protect the physicians named  I have removed the address and telephone numbers from the public forums.   Sharing of this information is generally done via email due to the many spammers that flood the forum. 
I know you were acting in good faith in posting  the information and I suspect the members who were looking for the info did see it before my edit  :-)
 
Thank you so much for your understanding. 
 
Respectfully,
Kitt

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 7/22/2009 2:54:35 PM (GMT-6)


gerdo
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 37
   Posted Today 3:17 PM (GMT -6)   
PaLady,
I am with you on the Integrative Medicine. Dr. Zubiran works with a psychologist with several of his patients. I went to several visits with her where she gave me tips and methods for dealing with stress. She actually suffered GERD for over a decade, treating it only with PPIs. Her story with acid-reflux is a horror novel. Her symptoms included nausea, vomiting, bloatedness, burping, acid reflux/hearbrun, colitis, etc. She finally recovered completely and left all meds after becoming a patient of Dr. Zubiran. This is how they came to work together. She took several courses in bahavioural psychology in New York City and is certified to give courses on dealing with stress. She specifically narrows in on patients with gastrointestinal problems.
What strikes me is all the stuff I did to recover - yoga, stress classes, vacation time, lots of medicine, and finally homeopathic remedies. Both Dr. Zubiran and Dr. Barba believe in working with the body as a whole - not just in separate compartments.
I have heard of Dr. Weil - I believe I searched his website as part of my own recovery.... Most of the stuff I found on the pylorus was not in English. And the stuff in English focuses on this in babies. Not too popular a theory for adults I guess.....

A few mentions of it just from a quick Web search are below:

http://www.drgreene.com/21_1525.html
Pyloric stenosis, is far less common than GERD. It occurs when, the valve at the bottom of the stomach grows so tight, that liquid in the stomach comes shooting back up. The classic thing with pyloric stenosis is projectile vomiting, where the vomit shoots out forcefully away from the body.

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/digestive-health/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100065718
too long to copy

stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted Today 4:05 PM (GMT -6)   

Gerdo,

Thank you so much for sharing your information.  If you would like to modify your member profile in the Control Panel you can add your own email then others can email you for the information on the physician's contact information. The HW Forums can be read by anyone even nonmembers.  The profiles can only be viewed by our members.

I am so glad you found help with your GERD and again thank you for your inspiring story.

I wish you peace,

Kitt


 

Kitt,
Moderator: Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn
Anxiety/Panic, & Depression
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind


LittlePeanut
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 7/23/2009 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Gerdo:

If you would be so kind to e-mail me the doctors informations. I am a big believer in natural medicines being an avid outdoor person nature has a lot offer.


LP

stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/23/2009 4:32 PM (GMT -6)   

Little Peanut,

Thanks for following up with GERDO as the info was excellent .  I am sure she can email you.

Individuals are welcome to share recommendations, including names. The phone numbers and addresses become a bit more tricky as search engines can pick up info and spammers then have access.

I am always so pleased when the members of this forum understand the reasons for an edit. 

I thank you.

Kitt

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