Abdominal exercises caused flareup?

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collegekidTO
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/23/2014 7:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

This is my first post to this forum and I look forward to interacting with you all! :-)

I was diagnosed with GERD two years ago when I was 23. I had an endoscopy which found I had a "loose GE junction" and hiatal hernia. The specialist and my family doctor prescribed nexium 20 mg once a day with antacid supplementation as needed. I found that over the last two years my symptoms have been greatly improved - I rarely ever used any antacids and the single nexium a day suppressed any reflux. I had even been regularly eating trigger foods from when the condition first started - coffee (albeit decaf), cranberry juice, salsa, Indian food, etc.

I recently resolved to try and be more fit/active in my lifestyle, nothing major but just little things like walking instead of taking the bus or doing stretching exercises at home. Last weekend I tried doing ab crunches for the first time and a few days later I noticed that my heartburn symptoms had worsened for the first time in two years. I am back to my "home remedy" symptom management plan of eliminating trigger foods, sleeping with my head and shoulders elevated, antacid and gaviscon when necessary, eating small meals and taking an extra nexium (morning and evening).

I guess my question is: Has anyone else found that these sorts of exercises can exacerbate symptoms? I'm concerned now that I may have made the hiatal hernia condition worse by the pinching/crunching motion of the workout and am going to see my doctor ASAP to see what she thinks. Has anyone ever suffered a serious setback like this because of a similar exercise?

Thanks and have a great day!
collegekidTO

ConstantinRa
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 5/23/2014 11:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello collegekidTO,

I'm also 25 and also have the exact same things(gerd, loose ge junction, hiatal hernia). I visited my GE today and he told me straight up to do only MODERATE exercises. Crunching, jumping, lifting weights, sprinting as fast as you can, etc., are big NO-NO's.

Ab crunches especially can push your stomach up through your hernia and that heavily favors GERD. Just remember, moderate exercises only. I also have a thread open for exercise suggestions because i want to do something more than just light jogging, so any exercises you did and felt well after are welcome :).

All the best.

collegekidTO
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/23/2014 12:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the reply ConstantinRa. Sounds like we are symptom twins! I spoke with my family doctor today and I am definitely laying off any exercise except walking for the time being. She told me to double my nexium dose and come back in two weeks. If that doesn't calm things down to the original level, she will refer me to the GE again.

Your explanation seems perfectly logical to me - it was a stupid idea to try those crunches and now I'll just have to live with the consequences. I have a busy summer planned and I don't want this flareup to ruin things, but it looks like I'll just have to sit back and be patient and try not be too bummed out about it. As a scientist I usually think things through but clearly I failed on this one!

Random observation: do you feel better standing than sitting? I guess it compresses the stomach less? Sometimes when I feel the burn coming on I'll get up and walk around and feel a little better. Also, Gaviscon (alginate) about half an hour after a meal helps me a bit.

Take care,
collegekidTO

ConstantinRa
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 5/23/2014 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Sometimes i feel better standing, but not always. I cannot lie on my back though.. I will sit most of the time. Also breathing into your lower abdomen is supposed to help, because you're basically pushing your diaphragm downwards and not putting so much pressure on the stomach.

I'm also on nexium 40mg but i noticed they give me anxiety and i've had a couple of panic attacks. I still have 6 days to go on nexium and after that i wont be taking it ever again because of the anxiety. I never had anxiety like this my whole life and never had panic attacks. Just when i started taking nexium i began having anxiety. I take quamatel when i feel the burn coming. I just finished a week of motilium (domperidone) 3 times a day after meals and can't say that it helped much..

I have decided to try and heal my hernia through therapy and exercises. I will keep posting updates on this forum with my results. Hopefully i wont need surgery...

Good luck!

collegekidTO
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/23/2014 3:03 PM (GMT -6)   
It's strange how medications can affect people in different ways. I've been on nexium for almost three years now and I'm never experienced any kind of anxiety/panic attacks. There are other PPIs available if you are interested - I tried a few other ones (Pariet, Losec, Tecta). They all have the same general chemical structure though so they may affect you in a similar way. Worth a shot if your doc wants you to continue. I have had zero side effects with nexium, and my doctor is fine with me staying on it indefinitely.

Since this flareup started I have been reading into the GERD surgery procedure (Nissen fundoplication) and although it seems like a last resort for many people, I don't think I would mind having it if necessary. A big part of that is that it would be free here in Canada under our government health care and the wait time is only a few months or less, not sure about other countries. But the idea of not being dependent on nexium is also inviting. If it ever came to it I would have to look more at any side effects of the surgery - I've heard of weird things like people not being able to belch or vomit, sounds crazy. I guess I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.

Let me know if you find any exercises that help. I just lifted a heavy backpack of groceries and I suddenly felt better. Might regret it later though! I'm sure you are already doing this but try elevating your head and shoulders with a pillow underneath your mattress at night - I continued to do this even when I didn't have symptoms.

All the best.

ldrunner
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 5/23/2014 5:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I firmly believe exercise can cause flareups and hiatus hernias but surgeons I have told look at me like I'm dumb when I say it.

For me it's anything that puts a huge load on the top of the abs and chest - tricep press and gymnastic ring pressups are killers.

Cheers, LD.

ConstantinRa
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 5/24/2014 1:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Last night i tried sleeping with my head on two pillows and at one point the back of my neck sorta got numb.. I used to sleep on my belly and now i found that i am most comfortable on my right side.

Anyway, i read a lot about nexium side effects and being on it for 3 years can seriously hurt your body. Just a thought.. Next time you go for a regular check-up do some blood tests. Check your magnesium and calcium levels. If they're normal you're not affected by its side effects. Low magnesium levels are horrible. Believe me.

collegekidTO
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/24/2014 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I find it best to sleep on my left side, to each his own!

I had bloodwork done a couple of years ago when I was on nexium for about 8 months, might request it again when I follow up with my doc in two weeks time. At the time she said everything looked normal. The antacids I use have calcium and magnesium, and my multivitamin does too.

I find that since this flareup started I'm never very hungry. I'm hoping that by eating less I don't become vitamin-deficient, hence the multivitamin!

I'm also going to ask my chiropractor if he has any advice or procedures he can do that might help - he is really good with sport injuries so I'm hoping he has treated this type of thing before.

Pat Tall
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 950
   Posted 5/24/2014 8:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Sleeping on your left side is the best side to sleep on due to the way the stomach lies inside you. Also, the top end of your bed should be elevated on blocks 6-8 inches high. This helps keep the reflux inside your stomach. Just sleeping with your head on two pillows would not likely keep the acid in your stomach.

Hope you feel better real soon. Let us know how you are doing.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 5/24/2014 9:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi collegekidTO,

Glad you've joined the forum! I noticed your post regarding "sleeping on two pillows". That is not a good solution. It is better to use a wedge pillow with a gradual incline from the waist, or elevate the head of the bed (7-8") using bed risers or blocks. When you use pillows, it tends to put even more pressure on your stomach/more reflux issues, because it bends you in the middle.

That's my two-cents!yeah
Best wishes,
Denise

GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

collegekidTO
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/26/2014 10:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone,

Just saw your recent messages as I haven't checked this thread for a couple of days.

My apologies about the pillow comment - I hope I haven't misled anyone. I don't sleep on two pillows but rather place a couple of small couch cushions under the head of my mattress to create an incline. My bed doesn't have posts so blocks are out but I am looking into the wedge. They seem to be somewhat expensive (on my poor student budget!) but perhaps worth a shot. Have others had success using them?

I had a bit of a setback yesterday. I was having a great day reflux-wise, mostly just sitting around the house studying. For dinner I had a bowl of homemade vegetable soup (literally just mushy veggies and water) and decided to go for a walk about 2 hours later as the weather was gorgeous. However, I'm not sure if it was the type of vegges, if I overate or if it was the physical activity itself but during my walk the reflux returned and it kept up all evening. And for the first night in a week it actually kept me up for almost all of the night. I tried a few different positions, even sitting up and with a higher incline, but nothing really helped. Oddly enough I felt almost completely fine when I would get up and walk around. I took a third nexium, 150 mg ranitidine, 2 tums and soda crackers at different points in the night to try and calm things down. I did notice that rolling onto my stomach helped, and I may have passed out in that position for a while - not sure if that is harmful long-ter. Needless to say my stomach isn't feeling all that great today - may have to try sleeping sitting up tonight. I read that drinking too much water before bed can make things worse - I definitely drank more water yesterday than previous days as I am trying to substitute water for antacids as the max of my tums is 10/day.

I've noticed that at any given point my reflux symptoms fall into one of two categories - either a dull, warm/burning sensation spread across a wide area (I'm guessing the top of my stomach) or a sharp, quick pain right at the bottom of my ribcage on either side but more frequently on the right that goes away quickly. Has anyone else noticed this?

Sorry if I am boring you all with my extremely details ramblings! I've started keeping a GERD journal to see if I can see any particular behaviours or foods seem to exacerbate the condition.

Best wishes.
collegekidTO
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