Need some candid advice.
40 yr old male. Until recently healthy, athletic, Never had heartburn before.
Spent a year in Afghanistan and daily had to take Doxycycline (anti malarial). 9 months into deployment started suffering nausea and chest pain. Doc says Doxy causes reflux symptoms and prescribes Zantac, but never given any testing. Stop taking doxy prior to leaving Afghanistan
Return from deployment, and am suffering constant chest pain. Doc sends me to cardiologist; no heart issues. Sends me to GI doc, does an endoscopy, nothing found. Prescribes Nexium, suffer alternating periods of depression and anxiety, and bad headaches. Switches me to Aciphex, 20mg 2x day. Depression goes away, but still not totally mentally clear.
Slowly get better over next 6 months, but still have almost daily chest pain. Severity has decreased. Have another endoscopy, (was hoping for a Bravo to prove/disprove GERD, but machine broke the day of procedure.) Esophagus appeared normal, no hiatus, no strictures etc. Doc says symptoms align with GERD and continue the PPI.
I'd really rather not take the PPI, but every time I try and stop the chest pain increases. So I've never gone more than 10 days off the PPI.
Does this sound like GERD? Will things ever get better? Should I try and stop the PPI for 30 days or so?