29 and Suffering From GERD - am I doing the right things here?

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fluxx
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Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/21/2014 10:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone - I saw this forum was very active with GERD topics - so I wanted to introduce myself.

I am 29 years old and was diagnosed with GERD on November 2013. This diagnoses came directly from my gastroenterologist. I don't drink and I don't smoke.

He immediately put me on Nexium therapy (40mg daily) - which I have been taking for the past few months, but I am trying to break out of this funk.

During the beginning, my diet was a wreck - pizza, soda, binging on fast-food - and of course the train came to a grinding halt when my acid reflux became unbearable. The Nexium therapy helped alleviate the symptom, but I knew I had to change my diet and lose weight (at 185 pounds, male, at 5'8" - which is not good).

The Gastroenterologist did a endoscopy in February and did not find anything bad except a Fundic Polyp - which was removed/bioposied as benign. He also said I did not have H. Pylori, nor Haitial Hernias based upon the endoscopy.

Now fast forward to this month, April - I have lost about 15 pounds so far (at 170 pounds) and still going down. Diet-wise - I am now doing a very strict diet of cereal, light meals with veggies, and oatmeals. I also have Almonds/Bananas for snacks. This is a complete 180-degree from back in November. Coupled with my new cross-training exercises - I definitely am getting in shape.

However - I am still experiencing acid reflux issues. A few weeks ago, the acid reflux flare-up has gotten so bad that I had trouble swallowing food down with feeling a lump in the bottom of the esophagus as it goes down. The Gastroenterologist then recommended I take 2 Nexiums (one in the morning, one at night 80mg total daily).

So I basically decided to do some other things to help supplement my GERD treatment. I read that Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar and Aloe Vera Juice does wonders - so I bought some - and started taking Aloe Vera Juice in the morning and night. The ACV I would drink about 20 minutes after a meal. And I have been doing this for a few weeks now.

The flare-up definitely has died down a bit (and my esophagus seems healed enough so I don't feel a lump from swallowing things).

But I still don't feel I am not back to 100%. I keep asking the Gastroenterologist if I could get Barrott's Esophagus from all these GERD issues - but he just shakes his head and says - its very highly unlikely due to the length of the GERD I have experienced and at my young age of 29 - compared to what it takes to develop Barrotts (which is years and years of GERD - typically with people over 50).

And I am also thinking how to wean myself off Nexium - because I don't want to rely on this drug forever in my life. Is this possible at all?

Sorry for the long post, but I am at wits-end now on what to do. And I don't think stressing out on this is helping my acid-reflux to begin with.

Am I moving in the right direction to reducing my GERD? Or am I dieing a slow and painful (and PPI-medicated) death here...
smhair

Post Edited (fluxx) : 4/21/2014 11:35:13 PM (GMT-6)


javery
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Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 4/22/2014 11:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to the thread. It seems like your diet changes is a step down the right track. I would take the ACV prior to eating instead of after. The purpose of that is to provide your body with an additional acid supplement to help break down the food. It is not as effective if you take it after you eat.

As for getting off the medication, it is possible. I was on different PPI's for about 8 years and about 7 months ago I quite them and now I'm just taking 1 H2-blocker a day. What happens when you take acid suppressing medication is that it can suppress nearly all the acid your body produces. I'm not sure how much you know about rebound, but when coming off of them, you may get a lot of heartburn which is normal. Over time, a few weeks to a few months, this will calm down. Some people don't experience rebound. The key is to lessen the effect of rebound is doing as you are with the ACV and to lower your dosage of the PPI until you can step down to an H2-blocker. If you keep on that track then you'll most likely eventually make it back to medication free. So my advice for you would be to keep doing what you are doing, but take the ACV before the meal instead of after, and once the heartburn goes down then look at reducing the dosage. If your doctor doesn't think this will work or won't work with you on this then I would find a different one as I've read from others that their doctor's are helping them with getting off the medication.

I'm 31 btw so not much older than you. I started the PPI's when I was 23.

November07
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Date Joined Jan 2014
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 4/22/2014 12:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I am wondering if your GI used Barium X-ray for your GERD diagnosis. (you mentioned you were diagnosed on November but did not get endoscopy until Feb.)

fluxx
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Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/23/2014 5:25 AM (GMT -7)   
November07 said...
I am wondering if your GI used Barium X-ray for your GERD diagnosis. (you mentioned you were diagnosed on November but did not get endoscopy until Feb.)


No - I did not have any Barium Swallow at all.

He diagnosed me with GERD because I was complaining of strong acid reflux - and I had told him previously how I had tried a bunch of OTC PPIs already like Prevaid and Prilosec in the previous months for my previous acid-reflux flare-up episodes. My Family Doctor even previously prescribed me a few-weeks courses of Protonix as well. Again - these previous PPI medications were taken for a time - and then finished. I had not started any sort of "long-term PPI Therapy" until I started the Nexium this November.

I finally saw him in November because the flare-up episodes were stronger/more stubbornly persistent than usual...

When he told me about taking this long-term - that was also when I started in earnest to lose-weight and do the life-style change (cause I'll be darned if I get dependent on any long-term meds mad).

Post Edited (fluxx) : 4/23/2014 6:48:49 AM (GMT-6)


November07
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2014
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 4/23/2014 9:50 AM (GMT -7)   
I think I had a similar story. My PCP prescribed me to take omeperazole for 1 month but the reflux was killing me once I got off it. Then I tried Nexium. Now I am seeing a GI and getting a scope soon. BUt strangely, I ve been off from PPI for almost a month and only having heartburn once or twice a week . But I still have other problems like feeling bloated, lump in the throat. It's very confusing :(

MapleLeafBear
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 167
   Posted 4/23/2014 1:11 PM (GMT -7)   
fluxx- Your story sounds a lot like mine, except my primary complaint was more IBS related than GERD. I am female and was about 40 lbs overweight before last summer. I went to GI, he did colonoscopy last November. Found nothing of value and diagnosed me with IBS and Gerd and discovered that I have a wheat allergy. My gerd issues were pretty isolated to my ears - pain and sometimes odd echoes, etc. I do have what feels like phlegm that I cough up quite often, as well.

I am assuming you had celiac and allergy tests done?

My biggest saving grace has been Aloe Vera capsules! I get them on amazon. I was taking Omeprazole and HATED the side effects. Aloe Vera does not get rid of it completely, but helps immensely. I have also lost 30+ lbs, gone gluten free and stay on a strict diet and still have some bad times with it, so you are not alone in changing your diet and still having issues.

EDIT: I am also 29.

jamosca
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2013
Total Posts : 162
   Posted 4/23/2014 1:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, what don't you get a manometry and ph monitoring done. That's the standard for measuring your swallow capacity, lower esophagal spincter tightness and how much you reflux. This test usually decides on eligibility on having an operation . This will basically highlight your problems and should point the way to proceed.

Pat Tall
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 950
   Posted 4/23/2014 1:24 PM (GMT -7)   
If you are into supplements-- here's a good study that shows results. Were going to try it. If you do, please let us know what you think.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16948779

fluxx
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/23/2014 6:45 PM (GMT -7)   
AubreyBear said...
fluxx- Your story sounds a lot like mine, except my primary complaint was more IBS related than GERD. I am female and was about 40 lbs overweight before last summer. I went to GI, he did colonoscopy last November. Found nothing of value and diagnosed me with IBS and Gerd and discovered that I have a wheat allergy. My gerd issues were pretty isolated to my ears - pain and sometimes odd echoes, etc. I do have what feels like phlegm that I cough up quite often, as well.

I am assuming you had celiac and allergy tests done?

My biggest saving grace has been Aloe Vera capsules! I get them on amazon. I was taking Omeprazole and HATED the side effects. Aloe Vera does not get rid of it completely, but helps immensely. I have also lost 30+ lbs, gone gluten free and stay on a strict diet and still have some bad times with it, so you are not alone in changing your diet and still having issues.

EDIT: I am also 29.


Aloe Vera is great. I don't have the capsule - just the juice in the morning and before bed at night. It does seem to have a nice cooling sensation on my digestive tract. That and the ACV is the only other "alternative" supplements I am taking in addition to my traditional PPI-therapy.

From what I understand - and from what I have been reading - I think it has helped me immensely that I decided to take control of my acid-reflux this early on in the game. Apparently there were people who never bothered with life-style/diet changes (eating the same junk food/not losing weight/not getting fit) - and just relying on the PPI-therapy itself for years and years to get them through life --- which is NOT the route I plan on going towards.

I will try to continue getting my weight down towards the 160-ish range - and so where that takes me.

As for surgery - no way - I don't think my GERD condition has degraded to that degree. But still - I need to be vigilant and make sure I get my body back to 100%.

In terms of PPI independence -

I really really "really" want to get off the Nexium - but as javery noted - I think this could be kind of a personal trial-and-error process in terms of the weaning behavior. I think since everyone responds differently on how the weaning occurs with PPI therapy - am I right to say that I need to gauge my own bodies reaction to decreased PPI-dosage? So if it flares up really bad - I might need to pop an extra pill until its stable again before continue the gradual dosage reduction? Or should sometimes I grin and bear the flare-up - because I know the flare-up is a natural reaction to PPI-reduction in general?

Post Edited (fluxx) : 4/23/2014 7:50:52 PM (GMT-6)


javery
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 262
   Posted 4/24/2014 5:29 AM (GMT -7)   
fluxx,

To help you understand why you have flare-ups when reducing the dosage, it is better to understand why this is happening. Our bodies produce something called gastrin which tells our body how much acid it needs to produce. When on any acid suppressing medication, your body thinks it's not producing enough acid so in turn your gastrin levels go up. The byproduct of this is when you reduce the amount of medication you are taking, you are allowing your body to produce more acid, but because the gastrin levels are elevated, it over compensates and it results in over production of acid, which is where rebound comes into play. There hasn't been any studies on how to reduce this effect that I have found but I have read mixed results with using acid supplements in helping reducing these symptoms. My theory is that when taking an acid supplement such as ACV or HCI tablets, is that it tells your body that you are now producing enough acid which then helps lower the gastrin levels and then helps reduce the amount of rebound. I have also read that the LES functions based on acid levels which can change how much reflux may occur. With suppressing acid it is questionable whether the LES is always working properly which may reduce it's effectiveness over long term PPI usage as the LES may end up not functioning correctly over time. The great thing about our bodies though, is that it can heal itself given the proper nutrition and time. I wish you luck and think that if the only reason you are experiencing any symptoms and were put onto PPI's were due to a bad diet, I don't see any reason why you can't stop them on a healthier diet.

MapleLeafBear
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 167
   Posted 4/24/2014 8:28 AM (GMT -7)   
fluxx-I too drank the juice for a long time. But it was so gross that I could only get one swallow down. If you decide to give it a shot, I highly recommend the capsules, as they don't come with the bitter taste. I use the NOW brand and they're like little balls of aloe sunshine! They say 5,000 mg equivalent on the bottle. I take 3 first thing in the morning.

fluxx
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/26/2014 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
AubreyBear said...
fluxx-I too drank the juice for a long time. But it was so gross that I could only get one swallow down. If you decide to give it a shot, I highly recommend the capsules, as they don't come with the bitter taste. I use the NOW brand and they're like little balls of aloe sunshine! They say 5,000 mg equivalent on the bottle. I take 3 first thing in the morning.


The Aloe Vera juice doesn't bother me as much as the ACV - I literally have to hold my nose everything I drink the ACV down. I am thinking of trying the ACV pills once I finish all my Braggs ACV Juice to bypass the taste - has anyone gotten any luck with that? The reason I got the Braggs was because it had "The Mother" which are beneficial amino-acids for my body while I take it. Will the ACV pills have similar benefits - or should I stick with the Braggs juice for now?

Also one thing I wanted to ask you fellow GERD sufferers here is if you do any sort of behavior or best practices if you feel the flareup, burning, bloatness, etc... coming after eating a meal? I searched the net and found some tips other people suggested but I hope I can get some input from what you guys do as well.

If while on PPI-therapy for your acid-reflux/GERD - you still get acid-reflux discomfort/symptoms after a meal - try the following:

1. Sit up straight (don't slouch) after a meal. Definitely do not lie down.
2. Avoid any strenuous exercises at least an hour after the meal.
3. Avoid drinking excess water or other liquids after a meal as it may increase your stomach contents, thus potentially hitting your lower esophagus and trigger more flare-ups.
4. Take an antacid and/or H-2 blocker if the symptoms occur to help compliment your PPI's acid reduction.

Do you guys have any other tips you want to add from your own experiences?

Post Edited (fluxx) : 4/26/2014 3:29:45 PM (GMT-6)


fluxx
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 4/30/2014 9:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Also one more question - since I've been reading these other posts of people younger than me who got Barrotts Esophagus - I am getting increasingly paranoid about it.

My GI said that since I had a pretty normal EGD in February - he only recommends me to do a EGD in another 5 years! He also mentions the likelyhood of me transitioning from my current GERD to BE - is small - and then to killer-cancer even smaller.

Am myself being too paranoid here ? Last year, I never even thought of the word "cancer" but since my research into my GERD issues - it's very maddening...

Do you guys have any feedback on this?

ldrunner
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 4/30/2014 2:58 PM (GMT -7)   
fluxx said...
Apparently there were people who never bothered with life-style/diet changes (eating the same junk food/not losing weight/not getting fit) - and just relying on the PPI-therapy itself for years and years to get them through life --- which is NOT the route I plan on going towards.


I never really bothered with lifestyle changes - I used the PPI and then surgery.

Just so you know, I REALLY regret this and you are definitely doing the right thing.

I know some people have no option but to have surgery, but looking back I could definitely have managed my reflux if I'd had the willpower.

ericapeace2000
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1110
   Posted 5/2/2014 9:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Check into the Fast Track diet or the LOFODMAP diet. This has helped me. Some of what you are still eating could be difficult to digest.
GERD Moderator; Diagnosed GERD, possible IBS; Gluten free since 2012; low lactose since 2012

fluxx
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 5/20/2014 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Update - I'm still on the 2x Nexium per day and my reflux has gotten better. However - there is still a bit of the bloating sensation.

Should I ask my GI to maybe switch to another med - if I still have the bloating?

Also - I have been reading into DGL Licorice Chewables and Digestive Enzymes like NOW Super Enzyme - does anyone have a recommendation on adding this to my Aloe Vera/ACV regimen?

Post Edited (fluxx) : 5/20/2014 11:09:45 AM (GMT-6)


Mouche
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2014
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 5/21/2014 8:18 AM (GMT -7)   
For those who are having a hard time with the taste of the aloe vera juice, I use those 5 calorie no sugar added juice mix in a bottle of water. I add about two ounces of the mixed juice to my aloe vera and can't taste the aloe vera at all. I love how the aloe vera juice has help me in my process of weaning off my ppi.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!

figfigler
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/25/2014 5:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Pat Fill said...
If you are into supplements-- here's a good study that shows results. Were going to try it. If you do, please let us know what you think.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16948779


Pat Fill,

How do I read the full study? I'm only getting the abstract. Thanks

fluxx
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/1/2014 8:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Update - my symptom seems to be overall improving (very slowly though). I have also starting Probiotic Pearls along with Licorice DGL to see if it can help.

I am actually reducing the frequency of me taking the ACV as I found it seems to exacerbate my GERD chronic "burning" feeling a bit. I have come to realize - maybe either my LES is totally messed up or my stomach really does have "too much" acid. Either way - the ACV seems to be getting in the way of "calming down" my stomach and esophagus.

There are a few hiccups that occurred though - which may attribute to my food splurging once in a while. One very recent example was a few days ago - I had some "expired" ice-cream - bad idea - my flare-up was so bad I thought I was going to throw-up. During this ordeal - I had tried everything - Licorice DGL, Pepcid Complete, even Baking Soda and Water. Nothing seemed to have able to stop the pain-train. I put myself on a stopwatch and saw that my symptom slowly died down after 3 hours (sitting straight up of course)... It was like going through the valley of pain. In fact - during the worst of it, I thought if I forced myself to throw-up, maybe it would be better - but in the end - I didn't and just waited it out...

I ended up deciding not to put anything into my stomach for the rest of the day - and just let it digest down.

Good god - this disease is an abomination!!!

PS - I also want to know what you guys do when you get "flare-ups" of this severity? I think I tried everything but the kitchen sink here (except voluntarily throwing up the contents of stomach)...

Post Edited (fluxx) : 6/1/2014 10:44:32 AM (GMT-6)


mikered
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/2/2014 1:09 AM (GMT -7)   
try drinking aloe juice from health food store, well taking the meds your doctor suggested. It helped me and taking walks before lying down helps too.

fluxx
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/2/2014 6:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I just like to take this time and say thank you for your support guys.

This disease is something I don't wish on anyone --- no one should suffer through what we have to suffer through here shakehead

angelcat
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 6/2/2014 10:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi flux,
Glad to hear that your symptoms are improving, and hope your stomach issue will get better soon. Same with you, most of my symptoms improved a lot; some even disappeared totally. But stil, there are symptoms that remain. My flare up would be cough--that whenever I got full, or cant avoid to eat trigger foods, I Cough here and there, itchy throat and slight back pain. THOSE were the only symptoms that stay upto now--- BUT still they are ruining my day. I have a lot to be thankful for, but I also have a lot to work on to, like staying on track with the GERD diet. It is sometimes hard, but I know I gotta work harder. I also stopped exercising because of so much work to finish, and I hope i could get back as soon as possible.

When I have flare ups, I usually take a zip of warm water, very slowly just to sooth my throat. Sometimes, i chew on some almonds. I don't know, it's just that it makes me feel better. If I really had bad symptoms, i would breath in my diaphragm very slowly, WHILE listening to a relaxing nature music. It helps me to relax, Not to think too much about the pain, and forget about anxiety too. After a while, I can go back to what I was doing. It helps me focus NOT on the pain but on how I can calm down and relax.
26, F, Gerd, Lpr, Allergy, Anxiety, Hypochondria

fluxx
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/7/2014 10:53 PM (GMT -7)   
angelcat said...
Hi flux,
Glad to hear that your symptoms are improving, and hope your stomach issue will get better soon. Same with you, most of my symptoms improved a lot; some even disappeared totally. But stil, there are symptoms that remain. My flare up would be cough--that whenever I got full, or cant avoid to eat trigger foods, I Cough here and there, itchy throat and slight back pain. THOSE were the only symptoms that stay upto now--- BUT still they are ruining my day. I have a lot to be thankful for, but I also have a lot to work on to, like staying on track with the GERD diet. It is sometimes hard, but I know I gotta work harder. I also stopped exercising because of so much work to finish, and I hope i could get back as soon as possible.

When I have flare ups, I usually take a zip of warm water, very slowly just to sooth my throat. Sometimes, i chew on some almonds. I don't know, it's just that it makes me feel better. If I really had bad symptoms, i would breath in my diaphragm very slowly, WHILE listening to a relaxing nature music. It helps me to relax, Not to think too much about the pain, and forget about anxiety too. After a while, I can go back to what I was doing. It helps me focus NOT on the pain but on how I can calm down and relax.


Thanks angel! Let me try to recap some key points you have made of what you can do during a GERD Attack:

1. Sipping some warm water
2. Chewing almonds
3. Do slow diapgraphm breathing exercises
4. Refocus away from the current pain (as much as possible to something else)

Also during a severe attack (caused by a trigger food for example) - has an additional PPI pill (Nexium, etc), or additional antacid/H-2 blocker (Galviscon, Pepcid Complete) - ever given symptom relief within the hour? Or is it simply the passage of time (and the natural emptying of stomach contents) been always what relieves it naturally in the end?

From my past experience, it during severe attacks - no matter what meds I use to attack the reflux, nothing seems to be bringing "immediate" relief within the 5 minutes of taking it. This is even with Galviscon and Pepcid Complete - which are "suppose" to provide immediate relief.

Post Edited (fluxx) : 6/8/2014 2:25:00 AM (GMT-6)

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