Introducing Myself + Some GERD Questions

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

speedygerd
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 1/9/2012 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been using this forum extensively to learn more about my new affliction and I feel like I know many of your stories already. Thus, I thought I'd introduce myself and ask you all a couple questions.

At this point, I've had GERD continuously for nearly a month after a very sudden onset. I'm an early 30's male and prior to December 2011, I'd NEVER had heartburn in my life. It all started at 3am one night after a delicious dinner of homemade chili and hasn't relented ever since then. I woke up with an intense burning pain in my chest that completely perplexed me and it's been getting worse ever since.

At the suggestion of a doctor friend I began taking Prilosec OTC about a week after my heartburn began and then subsequently upped the dose to 2x / day a few days into it after my heartburn didn't abate. I've now been 40mg of Prilosec a day for about 3 weeks and thus far my symptoms haven't relieved that much.

As a result I went to see a GI Doctor last week and she immediately suggested I get an EGD to determine why my heartburn wasn't going away with a pretty healthy PPI usage. The results of the endoscopy was a bunch of inflammation in my stomach and esophagus and a few biopsies sent away for testing (waiting on results).

My question to all of you, is why aren't the PPI's helping me? I'm now taking 40mg of Prilosec about an hour before dinner, along with a Pepcid in the morning and in the evening (10mg of famotidine 2x / day). I definitely have some relief from the pain, but I'm amazed at how much I still have continuously.

I'm also wondering if perhaps I'm not feeling true heartburn now at all, and that instead, my esophagus has become so inflamed that even a much less acidic reflux causes me to feel pain? Do you think this is possible? Should I give the prilosec more time to work it's "magic" or should I try switching PPI's now to something like prevacid or protonix?

Any suggestions would be helpful. I feel like I am constantly popping pills at this point and none of them are helping me all that much. Very weird and distressing!

Thanks for reading!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/9/2012 5:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi speedygerd,
Welcome to Healing Well!  I'm glad you were able to gain some insight by reading the posts here.  You're definitely in the right place.
 
What did your GI doc tell you regarding medication?  Unfortunately, 3 weeks isn't enough time to heal an inflammed stomach and esophagus.  Your OTC Prilosec could be working just fine, but the tissue takes time to heal.  40mg is a dosage that many of us have had to use.   It is true that some PPIs work better than others for certain individuals, but I'm surprised your GI doc didn't give you some guidance there.
 
You could call your GI doc's office and see if they think it would make sense to switch PPIs or if they think it's too soon to determine that it isn't working.
 
Are you sticking to a GERD diet to keep from irritating your upper GI further? 
 
I would assume that your GI doc went over things you should avoid, and behavior that can help improve your condition.  Here's one of may URLs out there--I'm sure you've read them already!
 
Have you elevated the head of your bed?
It would be very helpful in protecting your esophagus from further burning.
 
Hang in there.  With time things will get better.
Again, glad you've joined us!
Good luck,
Denise
 

bcfromfl
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 1/9/2012 6:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Speedy --

Welcome to the forum, but sorry to hear of your difficulties.

As Denise suggested, it's probably too early to determine the effectiveness of the Prilosec. But, it's true that the different PPIs work differently for everyone, and it's possible, as you wondered, that another type may work better. If you've only been noticing the symptoms for about six weeks, I wonder how severe the inflammation could be vs. how quickly you should be noticing improvement. It's good that you're working closely with a doctor, and being proactive with tests.

Denise has given you some great suggestions to get started. Managing reflux requires a multi-prong approach so that we can keep the meds to a minimum, and maintain as much "normality" as possible.

-Bruce

davinci817
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 119
   Posted 1/9/2012 8:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Agree that it is early to expect complete relief and sometimes you have to search out what med will work for you. Hang int there and I hope you get good news with the remainder of your results.

speedygerd
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 1/9/2012 10:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Denise and all,

Thanks for the replies and all the suggestions! Unfortunately my GI doc didn't give me as much advice as I would have liked - it was more of a "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" type appointment. The only thing she changed was to take my 40mg of Prilosec before dinner (instead of in the morning) and to take an H2 (like pepcid or zantac) at night before bed. So far I haven't noticed any appreciable difference with these changes (~1 week).

I have also applied nearly all of the lifestyle changes, pretty much from the beginning. I now sleep on a wedge pillow (ugh), eat mostly bland and soft foods, wait at least 3 hours before laying down, and avoid any of the common food triggers (with rare exceptions). I also don't smoke, drink alcohol, or use caffeine.

In part, that's why I feel even more disconcerted about the whole thing. I've always been very proactive about my health and GERD has just completely snuck up on me. I don't have any of the common risk factors (i'm skinny, exercise, don't overeat, don't drink coffee, etc.), so I'm having a difficult time accepting the diagnosis and finding ways to "improve" my behavior.

I had also hoped that I would find relief by way of Prilosec (or another PPI), as it seems so many people consider it to be a miracle drug for this sort of thing. It just hasn't worked out that way for me - I continue to have a constant dull ache and burning in my chest, and it just doesn't seem like it's working.

I imagine that I need to be more patient with the situation, but it's been hard on me, and I feel like each day that I continue to feel pain and burning, my esophagus will become progressively more damaged.

Anyways, I guess I just wanted to rant to people who will understand. I think calling the GI Doc's office and asking them about switching PPI's is a good idea - it certainly can't hurt!

Thanks again for the replies.

bcfromfl
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 1/9/2012 10:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Two things I read in your post I wanted to comment on. First, you said "wedge pillow". That evokes a mental image that doesn't sound helpful. If you're using a foam wedge, it should extend from your head to your hips. Any less than that, and you risk a "pinching" effect mid-torso. You should be getting an elevation at the head/pillow of about 10-14", which may require some old towels or blankets to build up the wedge.

Also, not eating three hours before bed is not enough. The longer you make this, the better -- at least 4 hours...preferably more. If you augment your sleeping hours with Gaviscon tablets, they will work much, much better if your stomach has as little food in it as possible.

-Bruce

1957reader
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/10/2012 8:25 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm a new member & have a quick question: what liquid can I drink at bedtime to take sleeping pill will not cause GERD symptoms? Tried water, milk, OJ & pop. I only have symptoms at night & I NEED to take a sleeping pill. Thanx!

aeshleyrose
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 1/10/2012 8:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey SpeedyGerd,

Bruce is right about the wedge - I was using one at first too, and while it made me feel elevated, I later realized that it was just folding me in half and also making me so uncomfortable that I couldn't sleep. Plus I rolled off of it about 50% off the time. Luckily, my husband didn't mind raising the entire head of the bed with bricks and it really helped me a lot.

Also, what really makes a difference is knowing your symptoms and how you react to different things. For instance, if I have a light dinner (like a salad or some fish) I can easily go to bed at right around the 3 hour mark. However, if it's anything heavier, I do need to wait about 4-5 hours. It depends on your tummy :)

My GP told me that PPI's can take up to two months for the full effect to set in. It is a definite possibility that your PPI isn't right for you, so it's up to you (depending on your level of pain/discomfort) how soon you want to go back to your doc to tell him it's not working. Also, please don't let him tell you that they're all the same. In theory, this is correct. In practice, I have found it to be not so true.

I completely understand the whole idea of being hit over the head with this diagnosis. Just know that we are all here for you and we all root for each other to get better soon!
Ashley

chance34
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/10/2012 8:40 AM (GMT -6)   
1957reader, I would say water is your best choice. Pop and OJ will only make it worse. Have you considered that maybe your sleeping pill is causing the reflux? I would also consider taking some max strength pepcid or something along those lines if you already aren't.

Speedygerd, I too am a new member and have found the forum beneficial. And I have had the some of the same issues with my GI doctor, so after 9 months, I'm trying a new doctor. If you aren't happy, I would suggest you do the same, 2nd opinion can't hurt. Also if the Prilosec isn't working at all, which it stopped working for me, I had to go on Nexium. But there is also Prevacid, and Zegarid. You could give those a shot as well.

aeshleyrose
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 1/10/2012 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   
1957Reader,

Chance hit it right on the head. Pop and ESPECIALLY OJ are very acidic and most likely causing your symptoms (as well as pumping you full of sugar and caffeine, not helping you sleep at all). Milk can also cause GERD symptoms, as it does with me.

Also, here are some tips to help you sleep:
http://news.healingwell.com/index.php?p=news1&id=612661

As well as a list of "trigger" food and beverages, all of which can cause symptoms.
http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/features/top-10-heartburn-foods

Aaaaaaand a list of meds that can cause GERD by relaxing the LES:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/70493-medications-increase-gerd/

Take care,
Ashley

speedygerd
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 1/10/2012 4:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Again, thanks everyone for the helpful replies.

My wedge pillow does extend down to my hips and I've supplemented it with other pillows to make a nice long and healthy slope. At the top of my ski jump, I'd say my head is elevated at least 12 inches above my fiance, so it's a health slope indeed and it doesn't pinch me at all.

So far sleeping has probably been the easiest part of this ailment to deal with - I rarely have night time reflux that I notice and I'm learning to sleep comfortably. I may eventually do the blocks under the headboard thing, although our current platform bed doesn't lend itself very well to that. I'm also waiting at the very least 3 hours before going to bed and the vast majority of the time it's been longer than that. I also eat a pretty small dinner these days and do most of my eating during mid-day. I've even been splitting lunch into two separate meals to keep them smaller.

In fact, waking up in the morning is the most pain free and asymptomatic I am all day long. However, the problems start as soon as I eat breakfast and don't stop pretty much the whole day. I am trying to follow pretty closely to a GERD diet. I really do think that much of my pain these days is coming from the existing inflammation in my stomach and esophagus, as with all the drugs I'm on, I'd be surprised if my stomach has any acidity left!

My main challenge right now though, is that I'm nearly at the point where I have to stay on my feet all day long. Sitting down after meals for me has been pretty difficult (symptoms turn on right away) and then when I stand up, they are relieved quite a bit. Perhaps I need a new office chair? Or maybe I need to sit in something that makes me more upright and digestion easier. Anyone have suggestions about what worked for them in terms of sitting at a computer?

I also think in part I just need to be more patient, as it's going to take time to heal my internal wounds and see what the true "baseline" is going to be for me.

I also already feel like I need to find a different doctor, as mine seemed very dismissive about the situation and I was having difficult imaging them as a long term partner in working to manage and potentially resolve this condition.
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Thursday, June 21, 2018 10:34 AM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 2,974,056 posts in 326,155 threads.
View Active Threads


Who's Online
This forum has 161227 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, lennep123.
425 Guest(s), 12 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
Adele1983, suppwife, Kent M., island time, Katerina-b, Stan1961, Girlie, RichardNY, Szabo246, suttie, straydog, iPoop