Posted 3/22/2011 5:52 PM (GMT -6)
I'm hoping some of you out there might have suggestions for me.
Nearly a year ago I went to a gastroenterologist because I began experiencing wrenching pain just below my sternum. The doctor said it sounded like reflux, and he prescribed 40mg Nexium once a day. The pain got better but then returned, and he performed an endoscopy to see if I had an ulcer or cancer or anything else that might be causing the pain. He said he saw some redness in my stomach, but I had no cancer, no ulcer, no bacteria. He told me to take the Nexium. about four months later I began experiencing LPR symptoms, specifically night-time throat burning, once so bad that I had a sore throat, a tickle and a cough for a week, which pretty much ruined my vacation. At that point the doctor recommended doubling the Nexium dose and taking it before dinner as well as before breakfast. This helped a little bit but not completely. I've since met with the doctor twice. He continues to recommend the double dose of Nexium. But the problems persist. I have frequent night-time burning. When I get it, I take some Eno with some water, and it helps. Eno is a product made by Glaxo-Smith-Kline, and it's basically baking soda. They also call it fruit salt. It works quickly to stop the acid. Additionally, I continue to have frequent abdominal pain, especially after eating overly fatty or big meals. I also have been experiencing severe gas, particularly in the afternoon. Regarding diet, I don't drink alcohol (haven't for 25 years), I don't drink carbonated beverages (I used to drink seltzer almost exclusively, which I suspect may have contributed to these gastro problems in the first place), I avoid large meals, spicy foods, tomatoes, and other acidic foods. I do drink one cup of brewed coffee in the morning (my only vice, which I really have a hard time quitting). I don't eat a speck of food after dinner, and typically have dinner around 6:00 PM. I go to bed around 10:00 or 10:30. I'm 5'6'', weigh 140 pounds (not overweight). I exercise pretty regularly and walk my dog every day, sometimes two or three times a day. I'm a high school teacher. I've tried acidophilus, papaya pills, DGL (which helps a little), apple cider vinegar (worked for a week and then burned my stomach so bad I couldn't sleep for a week). I eat eggs for breakfast every day (typically two eggs, one yolk), and I don't have high cholesterol. I eat yogurt every day, too, usually as a midmorning snack. I also eat homemade granola with my yogurt. For lunch I usually eat a sandwich or leftovers. I eat salads often. I eat a lot of chicken and fish, and occasionally beef. Burgers give me trouble. Steak's not as bad. I tried a wedge pillow, and it helped with the LPR, but ruined my sleep and hurt my neck. I always felt as though I were sliding down it, too. I returned it. I'm currently on 80mg Nexium daily and still have intermittent stomach pains and almost night LPR. If I eat a tiny dinner, I sometimes go the night without burning my throat. All of the night-time throat burnings have occurred while sleeping on my right side. Left side is better, so I try to always sleep on that side, but it's hard. Sometimes I wake up and I'm on my right side.
I've been on the Nexium in various doses for almost a year, and while they may have helped a little, I sometimes wonder if they've made things worse. They certainly haven't stopped the LPR or the occasional stomach pain. I want to get off of Nexium. Every time I've tried to come off it, I've had trouble---abdominal pain, night-time LPR flare-ups.
The last time I saw my gastro doctor two weeks ago, he said my reflux isn't a serious illness and that, aside from surgery, I can either take the recommended doses religiously, try another medication, change my eating habits and lifestyle (can I really change it much more than I already have?), or stop taking meds altogether and deal with the results. He said it's my call. I took this to mean that he really doesn't feel as though he can help me any more than prescribing Nexium, which in a year hasn't really worked. I'm reluctant to go to another gastro doctor, because I know he'll just do the same thing, prescribe a PPI. He'll probably also want to do an endoscopy so he can see for himself what's going on.
I realize my problems probably aren't as bad as many people's (I've heard of people on PPIs for many years, surgeries, etc). I'm just wondering if anyone has any recommendations.