Posted 12/4/2013 1:20 PM (GMT -7)
My name is Nina, and I have had GERD/LPR for just over two years. It began just after I started treatment with a Naturopath for severe Hashimotos's Hypothryroidism. He had many natural recommendations for the incredible burning in my chest and throat, but nothing worked. Ultimately, he was unable to help me manage my symptoms and I left his care. Over the next couple of months the burning was nonstop; all day and all night. I couldn't sleep. I had stopped eating. I chewed large chunks of ginger throughout the day and into the night, I tried alginate powder, and a natural acid blocker, all with no relief.
The sleepless nights and painful days without relief caused me to withdraw from my family, become reclusive, and unresponsive. I searched for an integrative gastroenterologist and found one in Los Angeles, a three hour drive from my home. My husband and I own our own business and do not have health insurance, we had to use our savings to see him.
He assessed me as having GERD/LPR with suspected esophagitis. I was put on Zantac and eventually Baclofen. I think he would have suggested a PPI based on his comment about how he was helping another patient at the time, but I refused to even consider it. Over the coarse of a few months I found a handful of foods that I could tolerate without burning and learned to live with the limitations, but slowly I began to lose some of these as their use gave way to heartburn. I lived for months on foods that I can count on my fingers believing that my thyroid was to blame, and at some point the burning would subside with thyroid treatment.
After my GERD diagnosis, I visited a primary physician for my Hashimotos. He felt that there was a possibility that once I am on a therapeutic dose of thyroid hormone my symptoms would subside. He also recommended I try HCL to see if it would help. With the horrendous burning still fresh in my mind, I refused to take the pill, cleverly reminding him that I was on an antacid. He told me to take it before my antacid the following morning. (I waited a few weeks before trying the HCL, and I broke it into a smaller piece. Thank God I did, the burning was intense, and lasted the rest of the day!)
OK, now to the present....
The Zantac was losing it's ability manage my GERD and we didn't have the money to visit the gastroenterologist in LA, so I made the very difficult decision to start taking Prilosec OTC. I had such high hopes for this drug. I really felt it would make a big difference, but as some of you may have experienced, I feel like I have more frequent heartburn now, just not as intense. I worry that I am still so limited, tolerating only a handful of foods, and many foods and supplements cause the kind of GERD that seems to exacerbate the burning to the point where it is escalated and constant instead of an intermittent simmering, which is my usual experience.
The question I have is....
Is it realistic to even think that getting a prescription PPI will be any more effective than the OTC? I just don't know what to do from here. I've lived a limited diet for years due to another condition, but I'm worried; one of the main foods I can tolerate is rice. Have you heard there is arsenic in rice? So what am I supposed to do? There is not a vegetable that God has provided that I can tolerate. Raw, juiced, steamed, pureed, no shape, no form...All cause significant heartburn. Rice and a few protein sources keep me fairly stable, that's it. Even with these I will have daily heartburn, just more tolerable.
So, this is me. I'm sorry for the long introduction. It's hard to figure out what is relevant and what isn't.
Thanks to all here for making yourselves available and providing support. I've read many posts over these last couple of weeks, and I have been touched by all of them.