Trying to sort out my condition - too little acid?

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Land
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/9/2012 6:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry if this is long. I always seem to have too much information to spill out. If you can believe it, this is actually the condensed version.

about me: 27 male, probably 10 pounds overweight, don't drink, don't smoke. Previously very poor diet (lots of fast food, soda and sweet tea) up until about a year ago, but my acid reflux has always seemed to occur independent of what I eat.

Have had acid reflux on and off since I was about 15. Used to take omeprazole on and off. Later lansoprazole and at one point Zantac.

When it started getting bad: Started getting really painful about 4-6 months ago. Got Protonix at the ER after clean EKG and chest x-rays confirmed it wasn't a heart attack (was concerned because it felt different that night). Went to a gastroenterologist and switched to 60mg Dexilant.

What's happening now: Shortly after I got on stronger PPIs it switched from serious pain to mostly mild to severe discomfort. Insane amount of burping (something always associated with my heartburn), frequent food backing up into my mouth (often not painful, just annoying). Just about every day now, to varying degrees.

Besides that, my stomach is often growling, I get the impression I sometimes have trouble digesting food, and trouble with bowel movements (I don't think it lasts long enough to be real constipation, but it can be an irritating several hours).

All these symptoms often occur even on light and empty stomachs and can last all day long.

What I've done for lifestyle changes: about six months before this started I started exercising (lost about 20 pounds), started drinking nothing but water and seriously cleaned up my diet. When it started getting bad, I made extra effort to avoid the bad foods and eat in smaller portions. Didn't seem to help.

What else I've tried: apple cider vinegar and probiotics. Also, antacids like Alka Seltzer, Tums, Pepto Bismol, others, do not nor have they ever really provided any relief whatsoever.

Other: I'm trying to find a new gastroenterologist, because mine always seems to be in a rush and never wants to listen or explain anything. She also recommended an endoscopy after barely talking to me, which I would be quicker to go through with anyway if I wasn't a broke college student with a $2000 insurance deductible.

I'm trying to explore other options in the meantime, especially because it's starting to get worse again. Is it possible on the strong PPIs my stomach is now not producing enough acid, as I seem to read about so much online? That seems like it might fit with the non-painful (well, sometimes) regurgitation and the lack of antacids being at all effective, but I'm not sure.

I'm honestly afraid to stop taking my Dexilant to test that theory without trying to get more information related to my specific case, but every doctor I've been to has always tried to sidestep that question like they can't answer it or don't know. sad

drtinsac
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 458
   Posted 11/9/2012 11:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't buy the "too little acid" thing. Maybe in very old people that would be a problem but for a young man it's probably a real long shot. And plenty of people, here included, take high doses of PPIs and have almost no acid at all. We get along OK for the most part, without food coming up.

You really should have tests done like endoscopy and 24 hour PH study/manometry. Those are the key tests for reflux and will tell a lot about your condition. Without those tests, or at least an endoscopy where they'll probably find a hiatal hernia, I wouldn't spend much time experimenting on your own.

If PPIS really help you, then you have a reflux problem. PPIs sometimes can have a placebo effect, but I think (in my own case anyway) that the effect they have can be so strong, and stopping PPIs can bring back the symptoms, that I think you generally know if they really help or not.

Land
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/10/2012 12:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Well, the too little acid thing made sense to me on the level that maybe the PPIs I'm taking now are way too strong. I don't really know if that makes sense though, which is why I asked.

The other problem is it's always naturally come and gone away so it's difficult to tell if I can attribute it getting better at any stage to PPIs, especially now that that pattern is completing a full cycle while on nothing but the Dexilant (what with it getting worse again).

If it doesn't start getting better again I'm going to have to basically pull a rabbit out of a hat in order to find a way to pay for that endoscopy, especially if it leads to a recommendation for surgery which I don't think I have time to even consider for a long while. sad

UC Veteran
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 11/12/2012 8:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Don't stop the Dexilant, and try the alternatives like a spoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before eating. If it stops your burping, you will know it is helping and probably too little acid is you problem. You could try HCL, but if you stomach is very inflamed it might be too strong. I would try the Apple Cider Vinegar first. Obviously on PPis you have very little acid to begin with. After a week of the vinegar, see what happens if you stop the dexilant and just use the vinegar. Yoiu can always go back on it if you need to.

merry5363
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/12/2012 10:44 AM (GMT -6)   
At the risk of being shot down by those who only support their own views, the following has helped me and "cured" me as much as possible . I only tried this after seeing so many take PPIs with no results:
 
 Diagnosis Endoscopy= Gerd plus small hernia. All basic tests were done barium swallow etc
 
So this is what I used:
 
1) Acidophilus tablets
2) Betaine
3) DGL licorice
4) Digestive enzymes
5) Liquid calcium
 
I learned about all these items while reading this forums' various threads.If I feel the slightest hint of pain, I  will restart regime . Currently from last May to now, not needed.
 
I  was at wits end, Tecta had made me much worse and I thought, what do I have to lose?
I am always grateful for help found here but you may have to look back several months to see more non surgical threads.
Hope you are well soon .

bcfromfl
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 11/12/2012 12:51 PM (GMT -6)   
merry -- your contention that some are "shot down by those who only support their own views" simply has not happened on this site in the time that I've reviewed thousands of threads over many months.  People here are supportive, unless something comes up that needs to be challenged.  This is precisely why this forum here is, hands down, the best resource for reflux sufferers on the web. 
 
There are occasionally those who sign on to this site just to promote their own site, and sales of controversial supplements.  The giant "red flag" is someone with only a handful of posts to their credit (which happens if they make the same post on multiple HealingWell forums), or sometimes even one.
 
If I'm not mistaken, the post of yours that made you feel the way you expressed, had all the markers of someone doing just this.  You had just signed on to HealingWell, there was otherwise no other explanation/description of yourself other than to say, "...this worked for me," or something to that effect, with a link to a controversial YouTube video that, frankly, was not expressing sound science and seemed to only exist to promote supplement sales.
 
I'm glad that you found relief through the supplements you are taking.  However, the main supplement discussed in that YouTube video also contains pepsin (along with the HCL), which we know here to not be something that GERD patients should take.
 
I consider myself extremely knowledgable, and am willing to consider anything and everything to help both myself and others with this condition.  I know what works, what might in some patients, and what doesn't.  In the years that I've battled reflux, I've tried every nutritional supplement described on the web, as well as seen eight doctors and driven thousands of miles all over the Southeast. 
 
The views I express aren't only my own, and I consider carefully when I post to try to frame what I'm commenting on in a helpful, and sometimes firm, manner when necessary.  At the time I posted, you had provided no other information about yourself, and you seemed to be promoting something that needed a challenging reference.
 
There are many folks here who are in different stages of their understanding of this disease.  We need to do all we can to educate people, and try to quell the prevalence of internet exploitation of GERD patients to sell useless (and sometimes harmful) products.  Would this site be as valuable as a resource if there wasn't some sort of balance to all the internet "noise?"
 
All the best.
 
-Bruce

merry5363
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/12/2012 12:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Bruce- just glad I was not  so cynical when  I read and judged all the posts here.Everything I tried, I learned from this site.

Land
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 11/13/2012 3:36 PM (GMT -6)   
UC Veteran said...
Don't stop the Dexilant, and try the alternatives like a spoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water before eating. If it stops your burping, you will know it is helping and probably too little acid is you problem. You could try HCL, but if you stomach is very inflamed it might be too strong. I would try the Apple Cider Vinegar first. Obviously on PPis you have very little acid to begin with. After a week of the vinegar, see what happens if you stop the dexilant and just use the vinegar. Yoiu can always go back on it if you need to.

I actually have tried apple cider vinegar before (both diluted and tablets), but I only briefly mentioned that.

Pretty much nothing happened for a while, a few times it actually turned discomfort into pain.

Based on recent experiences I'm actually thinking I might not be having trouble digesting food, even when it feels like it.

The more I read the more I'm starting to think maybe it's an ulcer. Gets better and worse over time and repeats that cycle. Right now it's frustrating (to varying degrees) almost all day long... every day. Happens often when my stomach has been empty.

Didn't show up in my blood work a few months ago when it was really bad, and not sure if it would explain why antacids don't help at all.

Can't get in to see my gastroenterologist until the 26th, and it seems they're all crazy booked up in general. Another ER visit would cost me an arm and a leg, but would they be able to do anything for me there? Or the regular doc? Usually they just send me home with stronger PPIs that don't help.

Other than that I'll have to check out some of the thing's on Merry's list. I've already tried all kinds of probiotics, and for whatever reason I kept reading digestive enzymes aren't effective in supplement form. But the others are completely new to me.

merry5363
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/15/2012 3:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Land- this thread from several months back written by PPI- LESS and posters, was one I referred to alot when I was looking for help:
 
 
 
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