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.