My GERD Recovery Six Weeks Later

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BurningMan
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/12/2011 10:29 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been reading lots of information on this site.  I am greatful for this, as it has given me important insight and context but has also given me reassurance.  Thank you all for sharing.
 
I have been suffering from GERD for about ten years.  I have been on Nexium for about six years.  My goal is to wean off of it, but about six weeks ago I had a bad episode that left me with esophagitis and major stomach upset, despite the increased dosage of my Nexium from one 40mg tablet to two per day.   I don't know what caused the episode: perhaps it was a night of binging on dark chocolate and a few vodka tonics.   Simply put, I developed chronic heartburn, my throat was very raw and I had great trouble eating even bland foods.  I had a persistent lump in my throat and food often got stuck there for hours after I ate.  Even drinking water gave me heartburn. 
 
I am now starting to feel much better and wanted to reciprocate by sharing with you what may have worked for me.
 
After the most recent episode I recognized I needed to make drastic changes in my lifestyle.  I am only 42 years old, exercise regularly and I eat three decent and well-balanced meals a day starting with fruit and toast or granola in the morning, soup and a sandwich at lunch, and chicken or fish with a vegetable and rice or another starch at dinner.  However, I carry a lot of stress from work, I liked to snack on baked cheesies or chips and sometimes chocolate at night, I was at least 10 lbs overweight and I was drinking double shots of espresso in the morning and at lunch time, usually in lattes.
 
So what did I do?  First, I substantially reduced or eliminated snacking after dinner and tried to stop eating at least three hours before bed.   Second, I stopped drinking coffee for 36 hours, then returned to have only a single shot of espresso with steamed milk (a latte) at breakfast and cut out my lunchtime coffee.  I eliminated all other caffeinated drinks and started drinking decaf green tea instead.   Third, I eliminated all acidic, fatty, fried and spicy food as well as chocolate (oh how I loved chocolate!) from my diet and started eating simple food like chicken, fish and pasta as well as probiotic yoghurt.   My appetite decreased so my portions were reduced.   Fourth, I increased my water intake to six to eight glasses a day.  Last, although I was never a big drinker (I enjoyed wine or vodka tonics maybe 2 glasses a week at the most), I eliminated all alcohol because I found it to be very acidic.  This was tough because I really enjoy wine, but red wine has been tough for me for quite some time.  As a result of all of this, over the course of about six weeks I lost about eight pounds which amounted to about 5% of my weight.  The weight loss seems to have stabilized now, but I could probably benefit from losing another five pounds.
 
Yesterday I met with a homeopathic doctor who came highly recommended to me.  I did some research here on herbal remedies in advance of my appointment.  So when she told me to take two capsules of Pylori-Plex twice a day which has mastic gum (500mg), licorice root (25mg), marshmellow root (25mg) and slippery elm bark, I was already familiar with these remedies and was quite comfortable with it.  She also suggested I have a shake in the morning with fruit, fish oil (for Omega 3), hempseed protein powder and 1 oz of aloe vera juice.   She also told me to have 1 oz of aloe vera at night (which I mixed in my chamomile tea last night).
 
I was already starting to feel a bit better before I met the homeopathic doctor yesterday - perhaps my nerves were calmed by reading this forum and being more informed, and perhaps my system was finally starting to heal.  But I must tell you that I am feeling better today than I have in the past six weeks.   It is probably a combination of factors.  I have now had doses of Pylori-Plex three times, I drank the aloe vera juice last night and I had the shake this morning (tasted a bit gritty but I still finished it).

Later this week I will see a gastro to discuss my endoscopy last month.  I intend to explain that my long term goal is to get off the PPI drugs (Nexium) as I am concerned about the side effects and I have been on it for six years now.   In the short term, I want to reduce my dosage from 2 times a day to 1, so long as my healing continues.  I am afraid to go off Nexium until I am at least in maintenance mode.   I am hopeful that my diet changes will continue and permit me to get off the drugs.  I am prepared to continue the herbals until my homeopathic doctor says I don't need them.  I hope to re-introduce occasional wine and alcohol drinks but I will wait for that.  If I want to indulge a bit, I am willing to take the occasional Nexium if it is recommended, but I desperately want to get off the daily doses.
 
Also, my homeopathic doctor commented on another drug I am taking called Lipitor for high cholestoral.  My diet has always been low cholestoral, but my blood work showed a high level of bad cholestoral so I my doctor put me on Lipitor.  I expressed reluctance but my doctor told me it was also good to prevent heart problems so I agreed to take it.  I have been on it for at least a year now.  The homeopathic doctor told me it can affect the liver and perhaps inhibit the body's ability to produce mucous for the stomach lining.  I want to explore natural alternatives to reduce my cholestoral with the hope that I can get off of the Lipitor too.
 
It seems my medical doctors are not supportive of the homeopathic alternatives.  Until recently, I accepted their views, but I now recognize there are lifestyle changes I can make that could improve my situation, and I am open to herbal remedies if they won't result in side effects or contraindications with my two medications (Nexium and Lipitor).  I do hope to get off the medications though.
 
Anyway, I hope that this information may assist some of you as you explore ways to treat your GERD.   I am grateful for the comments on this forum, and look forward to further exchanges of information.

mock turtle
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 4/12/2011 11:00 AM (GMT -6)   
BurningMan

very thorough analysis and thanks for sharing your experience.

yeah giving up or at least cutting way back on chocolate, coffee and alcohol is a must, which i too learned the hard way having stopped and started and repeatedly injuring myself. peppermint and spearmint also weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. (les).

for me loosing weight and...very important... eating smaller meals was a game changer. there is substantial research showing that a major factor in the development of gerd is distention. big meals pull down on the stomach, stress the les weakening it and contribute damage to the cural diaphragm and a hiatal hernia.

i highly recommend the news and research summaries at the igerd site where a couple dozen important research studies about gerd are abstracted...very informative.

best of good luck to you.

http://www.igerd.at/version2/doccheckcontent/news.php

BurningMan
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/13/2011 8:44 AM (GMT -6)   
MT:

Thank you for directing me to the igerd website. Very informative.

BM
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