Cured GERD, came off omeprazole / nexium

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Crashingbore
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/1/2014 2:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all

I lurked about on these boards for months after being (wrongly, it turned out) diagnosed with GERD and a suspected ulcer in August 2013. I repeatedly read the threads pertaining to curing GERD and coming off the meds. I was so depressed at the prospect of having to take a PPI and all of the attendant problems that taking this class of drugs can lead to. This is what happened to me and how I fixed it:

In August I started to get burning pains in my stomach and in my shoulder blades. I didn't have any reflux at this time whatsoever. My PCP immediately put me on omeprazole to see if whatever ailed me responded to no avail. This is only to be expected since it would seem the issue was with my gallbladder not my stomach. Anyhow, she also suspected a possible ulcer and wanted to heal that if I did have one. I diligently took the PPIs (tried lots of different ones) until a HIDA scan earlier in the 2014 showed that my gallbladder ejection fraction was only 4%. I also had an endoscopy that showed a 1cm hernia, very mild esophagitis and mild gastritis. I decided to come off the PPIs in March 2014. Remember that up until this point I had never experienced reflux. I'd had mild heartburn while pregnant. That's it. I stopped the PPI cold turkey when I ran out, and the results were hellacious. Acid the likes of which I have never felt. I immediately went out and bought some OTC omeprazole. My stomach PH must've gone from extremely acid to incredibly alkaline at whiplash speed since I was instantly sick. Vomiting was really odd since I was bringing up this alkaline liquid. It made me realize how powerful and unnatural PPIs are. I determined that I would get off them the right way. It's been a slow, long, painful slog but I've done it and have been reflux free for two weeks now. Here's what I did. Keep in mind I never had reflux in the first place so this may not be the case with you. However if you're suffering through the hell of reflux rebound hypersecretion my experience may help you. There have been a couple of studies on how PPIs raise gastrin in blood and lead to massive over secretion of acid when the drug is withdrawn, for example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15679764
However, there seems to be remarkably little research on this considering how many people must be suffering from withdrawal from these drugs. I do believe PPIs have an important role to play for those with ulcers and extreme GERD but I would avoid these drugs if possible. These drugs, doled out as if they are the most innocuous thing in the world, can and often do cause the very condition they ostensibly cure.

- I started tampering my dose by 5mg every two weeks. My pills were enterically coated so you're not meant to do this but I just got a pill cutter and did it. I was on 40mg originally and each step down was unpleasant but not unbearable. I used chewable Gaviscon tablets from the UK when it got awful. I drank lots of ginger tea and sucked on lots of DGL licorice tablets. Do try different brands since some are awful and some taste just fine. Aloe vera tea was also quite helpful. I couldn't stomach the ACV cure but I did eat lots of pickles. I learned coffee was the very devil and have just had to switch to tea in the mornings (not so hard since I'm British).
- The big change came when I switched entirely from a PPI to zantac in May. I was okay for about a week and then the acid came with a burning vengeance. I got really serious about this since the acid started burning my vocal chords and I lot my voice. This is a disaster for a university lecturer. I had to get a wedge pillow and slept at an incline for 6 weeks or so. Don't try to do this with pillows. The wedge is okay once you get used to it but I'm rid of it now. To control the acid I totally cut out coffee, wheat and diary. It's easier than you think. Switch to rice or shirataki noodles. Try almond milk, get soy tea lattes at Starbucks. I was on 150mg zantac twice per day until a couple of weeks ago when I started to feel much, much better. IT TOOK FOUR MONTHS FOR MY GASTRIN / STOMACH ACID LEVELS TO RETURN TO NEAR PRE-PPI LEVELS. I was on PPIs for about nine months all told. This was the kind of information that I desperately needed while withdrawing from the PPIs. Not knowing how long the unpleasantness would last (indeed, if it would ever end) was extremely demoralizing. There were several times during the first three months that I seriously considered taking a PPI to get rid of the burning. I flushed them down the toilet one time to avoid this and then gave them to my husband to hide another. I didn't get rid of them entirely just in case I woke up with serious throat burn and was afraid of the damage.
- In July I did a Dr Schulze's colon cleanse for 10 days. I don't know if it helped but psychologically I felt like I was taking charge of the situation. Check out this website for some good advice
http://untilthethinladysings.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-i-cured-myself-from-gerd-acid.html
This website also helped and I re-read the comments when I was feeling like the burning would never stop: http://www.musingsofahousewife.com/how-i-got-off-nexium-for-good.html
- I also tried to get on top of stress over the summer. I'm a tenure track professor in a publish-or-perish situation so I'm really anxious at the moment. However, there were times I would've willingly traded any of my academic success for the burning to stop so that rather put it in perspective.
- supplements. These are what I've taken over the past months that have, I think, really helped heal my tummy: DGL (capsule form); Pepzin GI (Japanese medicine); calcium/mag/vitD liquid supplement (to make up for any absorption issues caused by PPI); vitamin B12 lozenges; MASTIC GUM (very helpful); at night I often took high dose Melatonin (there are a few studies that show this can help with the functioning of the LES).

I have reintroduced wheat with no problem. I'm off milk but I do eat cheese. I can eat very spicy food and drink wine (I just ate really spicy Chinese chicken and a glass of red wine and am totally burn-free). I avoid coffee like the plague. The burning is instant if I go there. I gave up alcohol for a bit but I honestly can say it didn't really seem to affect me. In fact, on days when the burning was really horrid I'd often have a few glasses to calm down and forget about it rather than hitting the PPIs. I am now on 2x75mg zantac per day. I'm going to step it down by cutting my nighttime dose in half starting next week. I should be off by Halloween (apparently though there is a bit of rebound with zantac it is as nothing compared to the PPIs). Taper down VERY SLOWLY. It's better it takes you months than the withdrawal being so bad that it drives you back to the PPIs.

To reiterate: if you didn't have reflux before and withdrawing from PPIs causes it please try to get off this medication for good. Otherwise you'll be stuck in a vicious cycle of dependency. This would be horrible even if the PPIs didn't have nasty side effects but they do: malabsorption being the worse for me (I have folate absorption issues anyhow without PPIs interfering with the process). Don't despair on those days that it seems impossible. YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT. It's not easy, it's not pleasant, but trust me when I say it's really worth it. I feel so happy to have broken free from PPIs. I felt so prematurely aged (I'm only in my mid-thirties) at the prospect of being on these drugs for the rest of my life.

This problem is going to only get worse as OTC access to PPIs increases. I was enraged to see that Nexium recently became OTC. I want to go up to people in Walgreens I see picking it up and warn them about the dangers of taking these like Tums. This is not a quick and easy fix. Tell your friends: avoid PPIs at all costs, don't take them unless you really need them. Tell your doctor if you do get rebound reflux. The more people that report this the more people will know it really does exist. I had two gastroenterologist pooh-pooh the idea when I mentioned it, blaming "underlying GERD" that had developed while I was on the PPI. This is total BS. The drugs caused it. I got rid of the drugs. I slowly, slowly got rid of the gastrin. I am now better. I wish you the best. Don't give up. Good luck.

BestMiMiever
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 9/1/2014 3:49 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so glad you posted !!!! Back in June my colon was swollen from prednisone and they gave me Prilosec . Took it for a month and then stopped as my legs were cramping . It wasn't long before I had the worse case of heartburn in my life ! It was non stop . So went from 40 mg to 80 a day . Did not seem to really work . Stopped eating gluten and within three days it was gone and my colon is not as swollen and seems to be healing . I have taken the Prilosec down to about ten mg a day . Wasn't going to take it at all today but now glad I did ! Should I take it down to 5 before I stop ? Been taking it now for a month

Crashingbore
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/1/2014 3:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Glad to hear that you're on the mend. It sounds like gluten and you really do not agree. Perhaps the prednisone irritated your colon so much that you just can't tolerate it at the moment. I'd exclude it for a couple of months (it's really not as hard as it seems and there are fantastic gluten-free options out there. It actually made me quite inventive in the kitchen!) then reintroduce it gradually. I'm actually going to have the gluten tolerance test in a couple of weeks but the problem with that is that you have to eat gluten in the weeks running up to it so that it registers on the test. Probably not such a good idea for you right now. I'd taper off your dose really slowly. That last step down for me was not pleasant. I'd try going to 5mg and adding in 75mg of Zantac. I was on 5mg of PPI a day for three weeks or so. I'm not a medical doctor but if you want to hear from someone that's been through it I'd say take it really easy on that final step down. The last thing you want to do is get disheartened and up your PPI dose again. 80mg is lots! Also try to avoid Tums and calcium-based antacids since they only work for 45 minutes or so to buffer the acid in your tummy and then you get an near-instant rebound effect that is horrible. These chewable tabs work well if you can get someone in the UK to post it to you: http://www.gaviscon.co.uk/products/gaviscon-advance/liquids/
Sometimes you can get similar on Amazon.com
Take care and good luck!

treeofstars
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 9/1/2014 3:59 PM (GMT -6)   
How long did it take you to get over your Gastritis?

BestMiMiever
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 9/1/2014 4:05 PM (GMT -6)   
It has been three months and it is just now starting to heal after a week off gluten . Three days after changing my diet it really started feeling better .
I have been popping tums like crazy up until 4 days ago !

Crashingbore
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/1/2014 4:10 PM (GMT -6)   
@ tree of stars. You know, I think the gastritis cleared up when I stopped drinking alcohol for a month and quit coffee completely. I've also got a handle on the stress that I was under now. This time last year I had horrible burning sensations in my tummy and they were gone after six or so months. I guess it's different for everyone depending on the cause of the gastritis. Mine was definitely coffee / stress / alcohol related. I found this link really helpful:
http://www.patient.co.uk/forums/discuss/how-i-cured-my-gastritis-185914

Also, psychologically, I found it useful to think of it as "irritation" rather than a condition called "gastritis". I mean, that's all it means. "GERD" is a term cooked up by the drug manufacturers too. To think of it as a "disease" makes it sound chronic and incurable and therefore worthy of a lifetime of prescription drugs. I think we need to have faith in our bodies' ability to heal when given the chance. Take care of yourself and try to isolate the root cause. Don't underestimate the role that psychological stress, lack of sleep and failing to take care of oneself can have on your body. I took my health for granted until I didn't have it. Put yourself first for a bit until you are better. Take care.

BestMiMiever
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 9/1/2014 4:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks ! I am going to check the website out . I can not wait until I feel 100 percent better :)

ericapeace2000
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1110
   Posted 9/8/2014 2:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I gave up gluten and lactose. I follow the LOWFODMAPS diet now as well as avoiding the triggers for GERD (chocolate, carbonation, soda, tomatoes citrus etc)
GERD Moderator; Diagnosed GERD, possible IBS; Gluten free since 2012; low lactose since 2012

Loucath
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 9/10/2014 2:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Crashingbore, does cutting the enterically coated pill not make it unstable. Can you still use the remaining piece?

Andy1986
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 1178
   Posted 9/10/2014 6:36 AM (GMT -6)   
BestMiMiever said...
It has been three months and it is just now starting to heal after a week off gluten . Three days after changing my diet it really started feeling better .
I have been popping tums like crazy up until 4 days ago !


That's interesting, I have been suffering gastritis on and off for a couple of years. I recently cut out gluten and have noticed a marked improvement yet I'm pretty sure I dont have an intollerance to it because Ive been fine eating it in the past few months before this flare up.

I have never had a HIDA scan but I really want one, I asked the GI alst time I saw them but he insisted on a colonoscopy instead because I have abnormalities in my intestines. Hopefully Ill get it one day and find out if my gall bladder is playing up. I get a dull pain under my ribs on both sides, usually worse after eating. Did u ever have this symptom? I have never had the typical right side shoulder pain though :S

CAGU
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 315
   Posted 9/20/2014 7:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I developed delayed gastric emptying / gastroparesis after only being on a ppi for 11 days. The doctors kept saying the medication was safe and it was not the cause. So they put me on a higher dosage and I continued to get worse

I decided on my own, to get off the medication, but no one warned me about acid rebound, which makes it so hard to get off the medication

After 3 months of acid rebound and completely off all ppis and any h2 blockers, I slowly started to get better.

librooks
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 9/20/2014 11:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I should start out by saying that I don't have GERD. I was diagnosed with gastritis almost 2 years ago, and I've had lots of stomach problems since then.

I take 20mg Prilosec every morning, PLUS an extra 20mg Prilosec every OTHER night (so it works out to basically 30mg Prilosec a day), PLUS 20mg Pepcid a day. GI doc thinks this isn't too much and actually said I should take more, but regular doc thinks it's way too much.

I don't want to be a slave to the meds. Was feeling 80% better for awhile, so tried to wean off the Pepcid again after many failed attempts. This time was the longest I held out before things got really bad.

3 weeks ago I took 1/4 chunk off my 2:00 10mg Pepcid pill (so only an 1/8 Pepcid drop in a day). Over the next 2 weeks I did have discomfort, but it was manageable. After the end of the 2nd week I took another 1/4 chunk off my 8pm 10mg Pepcid pill (so a total 1/4 Pepcid drop in a day). Within 3 days I was feeling pretty awful. Last 2 days have been really bad. This morning was intolerable, stomach pain that almost dropped me to my knees and felt like someone was brushing sandpaper on the inside of my stomach. Which led to a panic attack.

That was it. Shaking and crying, I popped a whole Pepcid and a Xanax and cried for an hour at what a failure I am that I can't drop a measly 1/4 Pepcid while I'm already taking so many other acid reducing meds that should be able to cushion the blow.

People have said that yes, coming off these meds is hell and you'll feel really awful for a week or two but then it gets better. I just can't get past that "really awful" part. I think it may have given me a bleeding ulcer as this morning my poop was black. How the heck am I supposed to wean off something as innocuous as Pepcid when I can't even drop 1/4 of my dosage???

Or maybe I'm trying to drop too fast? My plan was to drop 1/4 of one of the 2 pills every 2 weeks so I'd be done in 4 months, so 1/4 off 2:00 pill for 2 wks, then 1/4 off 8:00 pill for 2 wks, then another 1/4 off 2:00 pill next 2 wks, and so on. I was going to get the the halfway point, where I'd only be taking 1/2 of my 2:00 pill and 1/2 of my 8:00 pill (so 1/2 of my daily dose overall) and then stop for awhile and start up again in another few months. I'm so disappointed I didn't even get close to that before I had to give up.

Or should I just say **** it and take this stuff for the rest of my life? No side effects at all, but I can't image taking this much acid reducing meds forever as it can lead to osteoporosis.

I don't know how some people get through weaning off these meds with acid rebound that is somewhat bareable. Honestly, if I'd had a gun this morning I'd have been tempted to use it, the pain was that bad. I haven't been able to function for the past 3 days from the pain. And this is just from reducing Pepcid by only 1/4! Not even Prilosec, which is stronger! Plus I"m taking all the other PPI's which should have been acting as a buffer.

I'm totally, thoroughly disgusted and I just want to curl up in a ball and not wake up.
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