Posted 2/12/2012 10:03 PM (GMT -7)
I too am trying to go off PPIs, after at least 10 years of being on them. I was told I had GERD many years ago (when I was a smoker and heavy drinker with a very bad diet--I'm 41 now) and have been on Prilosec for years. Recently, however, I'd begun having some more nasty issues, like severe stomach tightness and pain combined with anxiety/panic attacks, digestive upsets, more heartburn, and just a general feeling of malaise. I went to the ER twice in a couple months because of it. The first ER doc thought gall bladder, and the second said it was anxiety. Got an endoscopy and the doc said I had a hiatal hernia, GERD, and a small spot of Barrett's Esophagus. Not good. And all this has developed WHILE being on Prilosec! However, the GI doc said there's not much to do about it other than stay on PPIs forever. I just don't agree with that, and I'm annoyed that I was repeatedly told it was just anxiety when it was clearly the fact that my stomach is pushing up above my diaphragm and causing all sorts of problems up there!
Then I started reading up on the long term effects of PPIs and it's pretty eye-opening. For the vast majority of people, it's actually LOW stomach acid that is the problem, not too much stomach acid. It's the lower esophageal sphincter that lets the acid back up. PPIs essentially take away ALL your stomach acid, so that makes everything more difficult to digest. You also end up having trouble absorbing some nutrients like B12 and iron.
So I've decided to go off them, but man, is it dificult! Regularly, I would take a 20mg omeprazole once a day in the mornings. The past week I started taking it every other day, or even every other two days, but I think that's moving too fast. Today I bought a pill cutter and my plan is now to take a 20mg for the next few days (to help get back from the past couple of painful days--today has been unpleasant!).
Here's my plan:
20mg daily: for the next few days
10mg daily: for 3 weeks, depending on symptoms.
5mg daily: for 3 weeks, depending on symptoms
5mg every other day for 3 weeks, depending
Zantac, Tums, and Pepto Bismol as OTC backups.
I've also delved right into the world of supplements. Other things I've bought to help me through this, while weaning myself off:
-"Stomach Ease" herbal tea
-slippery elm powder
-Aloe vera juice
-Betaine HCL with Pepsin - will take before meals
-Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
-candied ginger, as needed
I am also trying to modify my diet. No coffee or alcohol, or only rarely (this will be difficult!). Eat mostly lean protein, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Limiting all sugar/white flour/processed food. Eating small meals more frequently. Getting regular exercise (I'm only about 10-20 pounds overweight, but maybe that will help). Eating more slowly (this one is really hard to do, for some reason!). I'm also going to be more vigilant about taking daily vitamins and supplements: multi, D, B-complex, fish oil, probiotics, E, calcium, and magnesium citrate.
I also bought a wedge pillow for my bed a couple weeks ago and it seems to be helping.
Today was my second day without omeprazole--I guess I thought this wouldn't be that bad, but it's been bad. Hours after eating tonight, I got that stomach tightness, which I've gathered is the hiatus pushing up above the diaphragm, lots of belching, and pretty major heartburn. It can take a perfectly pleasant evening and just ruin it.
My doctors don't seem to be concerned, and they don't really offer any help, other than more tests, and to stay on PPIs forever. I know I need to be careful with the Barrett's Esophagus, so I definitely need to go off the omeprazole more slowly. My chiropractor has a couple times done the hiatal hernia manipulation on me, and also hit the ileocecal valve. I try both of those when I have an attack now. I'm about to start seeing a nutritionist/chiropractor recommended by my current chiropractor, and see if he agrees with my plan.
Sorry to be too long, but I've been struggling with this for months too and finally feel like I'm getting somewhere in my plan, and found this site, and someone going through something similar, so thought I'd jump in!