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hapawife
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/29/2009 10:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, I am new to this but not to hearburn and gerd. I am attempting to eliminate the foods that may trigger my constant heartburn and that feeling that my food is stuck in my esophagus. I have given up two of my favorite things, coffee and red wine and want to try whatever I can before I start taking the medication that doctor has given me. Does anyone know how long it should take to get relief if I am going to get relief? It's been a few days and I miss my coffee and I am not feeling any better. It starts at 10:00 am like clockwork and I spend the rest of the day eating celery, chewing gum and eating ginger.
Thanks, I appreciate any help you have to offer.

mookiemoomoo
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 150
   Posted 11/30/2009 3:33 AM (GMT -6)   
well i to have given up coffee and still suffering i have just the same feeling to . i am on the medication though . but its not helping me . i have surgery soon . hope you can find what your triggers are mine is every thing i eat at the moment good look
mookie

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5012
   Posted 11/30/2009 1:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Hapa, nice to meet you.
 
Did your doctor do any tests?  What meds did he put you on?  Did he say you have GERD?  You might want to read the administrative posts at the top of the forum page for a lot of information.
 
It takes quite a while to repair any damage to the stomach and esophagus if you have longstanding reflux.  If you are on a PPI like Prilosec or Nexium, these work by reducing the acid in your stomach.  But they don't do anything about the reflux.
 
Changing your diet, if you have reflux, might help.  Lots of websites have you eliminate acid foods or foods that are supposed to be triggers for the reflux.  I still drink a little coffee, but it's low in acid and almost free of caffeine.  Caffeine loosens the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows the contents of the stomach to get into the esophagus.
 
Keep a food log and write down your reactions to everything you eat or drink an hour or two after consuming.  Then you have to find out which of the foods you ate was the actual culprit.  Frankly, I would suspect gum because it has lots of junk in it.  I personally have a problem with ginger.  It's supposed to ease stomach pain, but it makes my reflux awful.  There's not much useful in celery, but if it doesn't bother you it shouldn't be bad either.
 
Come back and post your list of triggers.  Sometimes there's a group of seemingly unrelated foods that have a common ingredient.  My trigger is invariably sulfite.  But yours could be MSG or whatever.
 
Anyway, I don't even know if reflux is your problem, but I would expect it is because of the timing.  When your stomach is empty you must have no problem.  Then after breakfast it comes on.  Cereals are one of my triggers (contain sulfite).  I can eat oatmeal (the non-instant kind) and cream of wheat or rice. 
 
So good luck and keep posting. 
Alcie
 
 


hapawife
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/30/2009 6:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Nice to meet you too and thanks for the info. 
 
I did have an esophogram, they wouldn't do a scope because I am on coumadine.  I have also been diagnosed with CREST syndrome or limited schleroderma which affects the esophagus and can make your esophagus like a pipe but the test showed that it is still contracting and there isn't any damage.  The doctor gave me samples of nexium and that did help but my insurance won't cover it, so I have Aciphex but haven't taken it.  My concern is that if coffee or whatever is triggering it I will only  make it worse by taking the medication and masking the symptoms.  As far as the gum, I didn't chew it until I read that it can help and sure enough it does but the problem is I have tmj due to a broken jaw when I was a kid. I even tried apple cidar vinegar and that was nasty, it helped for a few days.  I have kept a food journal and may need to do it again but there didn't seem to be any common triggers, Thanksgiving dinner and left overs really hurt. 
It's good to know that it may take a while to see if coffee is the culprit, its easy to get discouraged.  I read that decaf has the same amount of acid as regular coffee, and that reverse asmosis (RO) systems can make your water aciditic. 
So much information!
That is interesting that sulfite is your trigger.  What foods contain sulfites besides red wine?  I just made red wine a food group. tongue
Thanks again,
Hapa wife

hapawife
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/30/2009 6:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mookie,
What kind of surgery are you having? 
 

Nolique
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 11/30/2009 7:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Hapawife,
 
I am so glad that you joined us!  I was just diagnosed 3 weeks ago with esophogitis and gastritis, and I totally feel your pain about the coffee!  It's like an old friend that you don't want to get rid of.  I drank it every morning for the past 22 years (while reading the newspaper) and it's a hard habit to break.  It does get easier though.  It just takes time.  I have been drinking chamomile tea (pretty mild, but soothing), and lots of water.  I believe ginger could be an irritant and possibly celery??  You will find bland foods to eat, but this also takes time.  You may feel a sense of sadness over the loss of some of your favorite foods.  Since I have had my gallbladder out four years ago, I have given up wheat/gluten, most dairy products and now the acidic (yummy) foods.  There are days when I look in the cupboard and think, what can I eat?  I cook my family our normal recipes, and make mine separate.  I hope you will not be discouraged.  It really does get better and you will feel better after a couple of weeks without coffee.  Keep reading and researching for gerd recipes and support groups such as this one.  I wish you well!
 
Nolique

hapawife
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/30/2009 10:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you, I am glad I joined. It is really interesting and it's good to chat with people with the same issues. So what is esophogitis?
Coffee is like an old friend to me as well but I am also drinking chamomile tea and learning to like it. It's interesting that ginger is an irritant to you and others, I have been eating ginger altoids for some time now for heart burn relief and the celery is something that I tried a couple of weeks ago and was surprised that I got instant but temporary relief. I do feel sad about the change in my diet but when I have a couple of hours of relief it is so worth it.
Good luck to you, your diet sounds very challenging and thanks for the encouragement.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5012
   Posted 12/1/2009 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Hapa
My list is below.  It's not for everyone, but avoiding these things STOPPED my reflux.  Didn't do anything about acid though, and I had a really bad LES, so when I was in a wreck and got my stomach pushed into my chest I needed a fundoplication.  I still have to avoid the foods because they continue to trigger stomach heaves and tachycardia.
 

Foods triggering my reflux, tachycardia and elevated BP – from food log and challenge tests (all contain sulfite SO2)

Bagels, commercial Bread

Bottled Juices – especially containing grape, lemon or lime juice

Brown Sugar, White Beet Sugar (all brands not labeled cane)   

Cashews

Canned Soup except the new Progresso light beef and chicken noodle

Catsup, Mustard

Cereals, boxed

Cheese, especially hard cheeses

Cherries

Chocolate, especially dark

cookies, especially chocolate chip

Corn Starch (fillers in gravy, pie filling, some medications)

Corn Syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin

Dried Fruits – except prunes

Eggs, if more than 1

French Fries, packaged mashed potatoes – no reflux with fresh potatoes

Gelatin

Ice cream, Sherbet

Icing

Jams and Jellies (pectin) – no reflux with the raw fruits

            Maple Syrup

            Milk, powdered – used as filler in “all milk” yogurt and some skim milk

Mixed Spices, especially with pepper

            Packaged, Cooked Meats

            Peanut Butter

            Pepper

Pizza (crust, cheese, sauce, toppings)

            Pork, Sausage

            Puddings, Pumpkin Pie

Sodas (more than 1 cup)

Tea and Herbal Tea (few brands)

Tomato Sauce

            Tuna, some brands, canned – containing soy

            Yogurt (more than 1 cup) especially low fat varieties (powdered milk added)

            Wine, Beer


Alcie
 
 


girl_geek
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 12/4/2009 3:37 PM (GMT -6)   
From my initial research I've discovered that trigger foods are different for different people.  When meds alone didn't improve my symptoms, I started eliminating the most commong GERD trigger foods.  Right now I am avoiding the following foods:
 
Alcohol (well, I never drank before but...)
Caffeine
Soda / carbonated drinks
Chocolate
Mint
Citrus fruits
Pineapple
Tomatoes / tomato sauce
Vinegar except in tiny amounts
Garlic
Onions
Really fatty foods (since I'm underweight I still try to eat foods with some fat though!)
Spicy foods
 
While my symptoms are not completely gone, I did notice drastic improvement within 24 hours of starting this diet, since previously I had several items on this list every day!  It's been very hard for me though -- I love chocolate and used to eat it every day but now I haven't had it for a month.  Whenever we go out to eat we love ethnic food but try finding any sort of Asian, Italian, or Mexican food that's not loaded with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and/or spices!  Cooking at home I can alter some recipes but still... I also love anything citrusy, mint, tomatoes...  Nearly all of my favorite family Christmas foods are also on this list :(
 
Sometimes I can handle small amounts of these foods -- a little garlic powder in flavored crackers, or tiny amounts of diced onions in a frozen dinner, for example, don't usually bother me but I still avoid them when I can.
 
I also believe there are other factors involved besides just diet -- I suspect stress and/or position (e.g. slouching or sitting can make a hiatal hernia worse than standing straight and I do have a small hiatal hernia).  Since I have a stressful job and sit at a cubicle all day I'm guessing those things aren't helping ;)  Some times I can even eat the exact same food for two days in a row but only get symptoms on one day, which also makes me think there are other factors involved!  I suspect stress because I've been working on a stressful project for the last month or so, and had a lot of symptoms before Thanksgiving, then I took a week off for Thanksgiving and spent it relaxing with my in-laws and by the second day of that trip I felt much better, then I went back to work and felt fine for a few days (despite working 15-16 hr days!) but now that I've been back at work for several days I'm getting symptoms again.  Hmmm... can I get worker's comp from GERD? lol  The coworker who's working on this project with me has recently started keeping an ecomony-sized jar of Tums at his desk ;)  I am still undergoing tests though -- I had an EGD, and will have an esophagul manometry soon.
 
I may have other trigger foods but they are going to be harder to track down -- they're probably some sort of spice or additive, since it's much easier to realize you get symptoms every time you eat a certain whole food!  So one of these days I might try keeping a food diary and see if I can notice any other patterns.
 
Also, every doctor I've talked to has told me to avoid caffeine and chocolate :(  The rest of the list varies depending on what doctor I talk to, but since everyone has different trigger foods anyway, I treat doctor's food guidelines as more of a starting point or recommendation :)


Medications: Nexium (GERD), Singulair (allergies), Tazorac (acne), Clindagel (acne)

Post Edited (girl_geek) : 12/4/2009 1:44:55 PM (GMT-7)


Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5012
   Posted 12/4/2009 4:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Girl-Geek
All your foods contain sulfite, and probably MSG. I would suggest check my list above to see if there are foods there that you tolerate.
Then keep a complete food log for at least a couple of weeks.

After you have a list, do "challenge testing." Eat a tablespoonful of a suspect food, wait 20 minutes. Write down your eactions. Then eat 2 T, wait 20 minutes. Then 4T, then 8 T, then 16 and stop. Stop any time you have a reaction!

My method comes from my allergist who has been seeing these things for 30 years.

You may be able to drink vodka or other hard drink. But stay away from wine and beer and rum.
Raw tomatoes should be OK, but not cooked ones.
Pepper and mixed spices have sulfite, but not plain single spices like basil, thyme, oregano.
Lemon juice is heavily sulfited unless it is pure frozen juice (bottles are near the frozen lemonade and limeaid).
Raw potatoes are clean unless they are processed, dried, boxed, frozen, french fries, etc.
Brown sugar and powdered sugar are sulfited. So is corn syrup, corn starch, dextrose, but real corn is fine.
Meats are good except for pork. Fruits are nice except for grapes. Vegetables are good unless covered with cheese or sauce or pepper.

But get your food list together before you avoid a whole group. There are plenty of things besides sulfite in your foods.

Some of your foods could be bothering you for reasons like just being acid - caffeine drinks and pineapple. Was that fresh or canned? Canned usually has syrup, aka sulfite!
Alcie
 
 


girl_geek
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 12/7/2009 1:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Alcie,
 
Thanks for the info!  I'm actually not sure exactly what foods trigger my GERD yet -- right now I'm avoiding foods that most doctors / websites say are common GERD triggers, and once I get my symptoms under control I'll try re-introducing small amounts of food to see what I can tolerate.  (So far all my doctors have explicitly told me to avoid chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine -- some doctors add other foods to the list.)  So I don't really know yet whether I need to avoid sulfite foods, or acidic foods, or both or something else....  But before I started the diet I had orange juice and chocolate every day, plus one or more other foods on the list every day (in particular, I used to eat a lot of tomatoes, onions, and garlic -- lots of ethnic foods especially!  We love Italian, Mexican, any sort of Asian...)  When I cut all those things out I definitely noticed improvement so I don't know if it's all those foods or just a few of them that were bothering me yet, since I cut out all those foods at once.  There are several foods on your list that have not given me symptoms, or at least don't give me symptoms every time I eat them (in particular, I've been eating cheese nearly every day, and replaced my morning orange juice with bottled apple juice...)  Of course I'm also on Nexium right now too, which may be helping -- though Nexium alone without the diet changes didn't do much!
 
But as I mentioned in my first post, I do think there are other factors involved (likely stress, perhaps position / physical activity that could bother my HH) since sometimes I can eat the exact same lunch two days in a row but only get symptoms on one day!  Which might make challenge testing difficult ;)
Medications: Nexium (GERD), Singulair (allergies), Tazorac (acne), Clindagel (acne)


nasalady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1176
   Posted 12/7/2009 3:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi...I had severe pain in my chest in June 2008 and was hospitalized for three days. They thought it was my heart of course but it wasn't. My arteries were clean and my lipid profile was great. They sent me home after figuring out it wasn't my heart, but didn't give me a diagnosis.

Well, I saw a gastroenterologist a few months later who told me that he thought my acid reflux had triggered an esophageal spasm. Sure enough, that June I had been put on 40mg of prednisone per day for my autoimmune hepatitis, so the pred was exacerbating my GERD. I have since tapered down to 10mg of pred per day but still get the occasional spasm. Sometimes food or pills get stuck in my throat or chest....I just have to wait until it relaxes so things will go down.

BTW, the best diet change for GERD I've found is to go completely gluten free.
Autoimmune hepatitis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, asthma, psoriasis, Raynaud's syndrome, hypertension, osteopenia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, GERD.

Prednisone, Imuran, Plaquenil, Lyrica, Cymbalta, Levothyroxine, Atenolol, Cozaar, Mirapex, Zyrtec, Fosamax, Albuterol, Prilosec, CPAP


autoimmunediseasesgfliving.blogspot.com


hapawife
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/7/2009 11:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I've thought about trying a glutten free diet, maybe that will  be next.  I haven't  heard of autoimmune hepatitis, that must have been difficult to diagnose.  It took almost 2 years before my doctors all agreed that I had limited scleraderama/crest syndrome and it is still difficult to get relief.
After weeks of trying to find the food triggers I started taking the aciflex that the doctor had given me and am getting quite a bit of relief.  It made me realize how miserable I was.  Are you taking prilosex for your heartburn/gerd?

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5012
   Posted 12/8/2009 7:41 AM (GMT -6)   
There's no reason to go gluten free unles you have documented celiac. The blood test is woefully inaccurate, misses positives. The gold standard is getting a scope, which all us gerdies need anyway to check all this stuff out, and a biopsy of a few cells in the small intestine. The biopsy will be negative if you are on a gluten free diet, so don't do that until AFTER the scope!

Aciphes and the other ppi products will nicely get rid of the acid. This is a good first step to finding food triggers. PPIs will not stop reflux but will turn it into "non-acid" reflux or NERD. Finding the food or other triggers often stops the reflux spasms.
Alcie
 
 


hapawife
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/8/2009 9:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Your are right, I am finding it easier to identify what triggers gerd since I started the medication.  As far as the scope, I am on coumadine and have to be off to have a scope and they are reluctant to do it.  I had an esophogram instead.
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