Suggested lifestyle changes?

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/7/2013 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello all

I'm new to this forum so please be gentle!

I'm 23 year old female and have been suffering with symptoms of GERD, heartburn and wind for around 2 years. I have otherwise always been healthy and never had any serious problems. I was diagnosed with IBS around 4 years ago but the meds didn't seem to help so after a while I came off them and tried to play the symptoms down (apparently it's all psychological anyway!). However any problems I was having with IBS were nothing compared to a gradual onset of GERD symptoms.

Main symptoms are the feeling of needing to burp lots during meals, nausea (particularly after a suspect meal or at a suspect time of day), sharp pains in my chest and upper abdomen which sometimes go to my back, acid reflux, teeth sensitivity and wearing.

I've had two endoscopies (most recent one in March this year) which although showed inflammation of the stomach did not identify a specific cause. I don't have the follow up until July (NHS treatment!).

Currently I have 20mg tablets of Esomeprazole to take when I need to. I was taking 40mg a day before my most recent endoscopy but after having to come off them completely in preparation for the procedure (which was horrible!) I'm reluctant to move back on to such a high dosage.

My main reason for joining this forum was to ask what other people with this condition have done to improve their lifestyle? My gastroenterologist suggested the PH test then possibly surgery if the symptoms didn't let up but I don't want to go down this route if I could be significantly improved with lifestyle changes. From reading some of the posts on here it seems my condition is not nearly as bad as some others.

Although I don't have a terrible diet, it's not perfect either. I drink about 1l of water per day plus 3-4 cups of tea and sometimes a glass of fruit juice. I always eat breakfast and hardly ever skip meals (I have a fast metabolsim). I eat 2-3 portions of fruit/vegetables a day. I've never been a smoker, exercise 2-3 times a week and infrequently drink alcohol due to the effect it has on my stomach the following day (symptoms 10x worse).

I want to improve my symptoms by improving my diet and lifestyle but just don't know where to start. Wind and pain is apparently reduced with plenty of fibre in the diet, but most fruits are acidic and many vegetables create wind!? I get acid after any kind of food/meal, although it's a lot worse if I eat spicy or 'bad food'. I can't seem to identify what causes it, only what exacerbates it.

Where do you start with things like this?! (Sorry for the essay!)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 274
   Posted 4/7/2013 10:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome skipper!

I am so happy to see someone my age, I am 21 going to be 22 this year, and I also just recently been diagnosed with GERD at such young age for both of us right? it's sad disease and it's really hard to deal with I should know. I was never feeling anything until October when my belly button twisted went to doctor and they said I had gastritis, and then I got on ride the next day and I inflamed my esophagus and I couldn't swallow. So when they did my first endoscopy they just said they found inflammation, so I still believed I did not have GERD they put me on protonix 40mg for like 6 weeks to let my esophagus heal which I did do but my first doctor wasn't a very good one and he never answered all my questions so during October-feb I took the ppi continuously because I was afraid of my own my body and I couldn't see another doctor until the following year which is this year and I made an appointment with new doctor he told me according to my results I did not have gerd but put me on zantac for like 150mg for 10 days to combat the rebound effect for being on the ppi for so long. so I followed his instructions and I was drug free after feb 2 that's when all the weird symptoms started to follow, I experienced heartburn for the first time, I have burning stomach, I started belching like small burps even after drinking water, and felt a lump in my throat and more. So I went back to see him and he said sounds like you have GERD, I got confused because I was like before you said I didn't so I believed him and gave up all the bad things just to get through the rebound thing. We did another endoscopy which was on march 8th and they found irritation in my esophagus, So I think I have GERD now, my symptoms have not gone away. I am really trying to stay away from the drugs since I heard they do so many weird things to you in my case they made my gerd from very mild to moderate now, lately i been having stuffy nose so I am scared I might have silent acid reflux. I decided to see when my sore throat and cold will last if it persists more then 2 weeks I am going to see an ent and maybe get the 24 hr done as well.

Now on to you after my long story, I got excited seeing I am not the only one of our age group going through this I felt so weird because I thought no one would understand what I am going through. I know you have to give up alot but I do believe give up, caffeine (cofee and tea even decaf) fruit juices cut down on the fruits bananas apples and pears and melons are okay and everything else in moderations cause believe it or not fruits are acidic. if you must have fruit juices dilute them with water as much as you can. I am currently still experimenting with my diet because I have chronic heartburn I get it all the time any time I eat it starts right after. Its not like severe pain very mild pain but i am such worry wort because since there is already irritation, I am scared of adding more to my scars.

Here are some things I am doing:
aloe vera juice- suppose to heal the esophagus from irritation
slippery elm suppose to coat it from more reflux
manuka honey suppose to heal as well
DGL Licorice suppose to heal the esophagus 20 min before each meal
chew gum immediately after each meal.
I been reading that too much carbs is bad or something like that some people here are on like gluten free and dairy free diet, I want to do this but I feel like with me anything can trigger it so I do not know, but I really feel like you should get your 24hr done before an surgery so you can take approaches to combat it and see what works for you.

and GET wedge pillow or add 6 inches to head posts of your bed at night to keep the acid down.

I hope this stuff kind of helps, let me know how it goes, glad to meet you Helen I am Roah from the usa!

Post Edited (inpinkagony) : 4/7/2013 9:34:46 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 795
   Posted 4/7/2013 11:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I believe that how much you eat at a time is far more important than what you eat.

The Fast Tract Diet via The Digestive Health Institute helped me get off meds. It is a low carb diet. More details about this diet are available on another thread here by that title.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/7/2013 12:11 PM (GMT -6)   
That's great thanks! Yes I agree with the portion sizes - always feel worse after a large meal!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 4/7/2013 1:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Helen,

I'm relatively new to this forum too! I've been able to wean myself off prescription medication and manage my symptoms by diet, lifestyle changes and over the counter antacids/Gaviscon when necessary. I found tea and coffee made my symptoms worse. It was hard, but I cut out both for several weeks and felt better. I've gone back to one small cup of coffee in the morning, but I know I shouldn't have any.

I might sound like a broken record to others reading this, but the best thing that helped me get better control of my symptoms was to keep a food journal and write down everything i ate and drank thoughtout the day. I was able to identify trends... like a cup of tea in the afternoon ...that aggravated my reflux. I also identified some food sensitivities. Give the journal thing a try. You might be surprised by what you learn.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/7/2013 9:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Helen,

I had similar symptoms as you do before I had my NF. The difference is our age. I am 51 however, the symptoms are the same and can affect your life horribly.

You mentioned you have IBS. So do I. Any treatment for GERD, including surgery, will NOT help IBS. My doctor prescribed me Bentyl years ago for IBS and it's been a lifesaver. It truly has. If you have never tried it, ask your doctor for it. It is also inexpensive.

As far as GERD, a lot of fruits and vegetables may exacerbate your symptoms, along with fruit juices. Chocolate, ice cream, caffiene, greasy foods, spices.......all of those things aggravated my GERD despite being on PPI's. Elevating the head of bed worked for a bit but soon I found myself like many others.......sitting upright to sleep. My symptoms became so bad, I ended up aspirating into my lungs.

I am less than a week post op NF. I am writing a journal on this forum. It might help you to read and help overcome any anxiety you may have. I have no regrets whatsoever. I can sleep flat now. No reflux. Can still burp small amounts. No pain. No problems swallowing. The only diagnostics I had to have prior to surgery was a EGD and a esophagram. I refused to have anything put down my nose.

Keep reading this forum. It has helped me tremendously to be prepared and has made my post op period much better. Keep us posted.
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