Hello everyone! I appreciate this forum and hope you all find relief. I was hoping someone out there would find an interest in my story.
I was a perfectly healthy 27 year old man with no history of any health problems whatsoever. For a long time I would experience occasional burping after eating a large meal. It was never anything that bothered me; no serious pain, and it would generally go away quickly. Back in early December my symptoms started with an uncontrollable burping, tremendous gas, difficulty eating food, shakes but no fever. At the initial onset, I assumed I was coming down with a stomach virus or maybe food poisoning, but did not vomit. After a trip to the emergency room, I visited my family doctor who determined that my white count meant I had some kind of infection. There were no tests to determine where the infection was, yet they prescribed Cipro and gave me samples of Aciphex at 20mg--this was the biggest mistake. After a few days on antibiotics, I still wasn't feeling noticeably better and went to a gastroenterologist who gave me samples of 40mg Nexium. I took the Nexium for a few days, started to feel better, and decided to go off it. Meanwhile, my GI wanted to do some more tests...we did an ultrasound of the abdomen which was normal.
After about a week off the Nexium, my symptoms came back worse than before. Abdominal discomfort, pain in the stomach, uncontrollable burping. Back to the GI again, who decided the next course of action was Upper GI Series. The test showed nothing abnormal structurally but did show "acid reflux." How they can diagnose acid reflux on that test, I'm not quite sure. In any case, now he prescribed Nexium and told me to stick with the regiment. In this time, I took a few trips abroad and made it through even though I was in a good deal of pain here and there. I noticed a sense with the Nexium of being "kicked in the stomach." This is a sensation that I had never experienced before, but everyone I asked assumed this could not be a side effect. Meanwhile, when I returned from my trip, I had run out of my Nexium samples and, sure enough, after a few days I had the "Nexium Rebound." This was far worse than what I had experienced before, leaving me completely debilitated. So back to the GI for some more of the same pills. We also did a slew of blood test which produced completely normal results, including for the H. Pylori.
After another week, I thought I was feeling better on the Nexium and we decided to forego an encoscopy that I scheduled. Another big mistake! For the last three weeks or so, my symptoms have gotten progressively worse. Now I have a whole cycle of symptoms, starting with the "kicked in the stomach" pain after eating, upper abdominal discomfort, chest fullness, non-stop burping at times, pain radiating to the back. I seem to go through periods every few days of 1) tremendous distress, 2) recovery and 3) normalcy. The periods of distress have gotten more intense and the periods of normalcy shorter. Meanwhile, when I go through one of these episodes, it feels like a spasmadic attack in my digestive system. When this happens I am in a great deal of pain and have difficulty eating. I have also experienced tremendous anxiety at times, heart racing, etc. I should also mention that I've followed every dietary guideline (no coffee, alcohol, fried food, etc.) yet to no avail. My condition has taken over my life and robbed me of any enjoyment--all I get every day are questions about my health, all I can think about is how I'm feeling, and I've had a lot of trouble working. The answers from my GI: increase to 80mg of Nexium and add in Zantac and antacids as needed. There's no way I'm going to oblige with that.
In any case, I now have an endoscopy scheduled with a GERD specialist from a well-reputed hospital. I've read a tremendous amount about these conditions over the last few months, and I can't help but think that the PPI's cause much more damage than good, and as such, I'm going to be courageous and go off Nexium cold turkey. It seems like all my troubles started as soon as I began taking them. Doctors prescribe these medications without truly understanding their effects on your general wellbeing. It's illogical to think that reducing stomach acid will not have other impacts on your ability to digest food or your body's ability to fight bacteria. The underlying problem might be the LES, and either way, you're going to experience reflux symptoms. But the PPI's seem to cause more problems, and you're still going to have reflux when the sphincter opens. I've also read studies about the problem often being caused by too little stomach acid, so perhaps the stomach pain is a result of too little acid (caused by Nexium) putting more pressure on the stomach, whicn then opens the valve and results in reflux nevertheless. My new GI suggested I try going off the Nexium for 48 hours to see if it reduces the pain. (I wound up in the emergency room the other day even on Nexium--so what's the difference?) I think this is a good idea, I will overload on Maalox if I need to and hope for the best.
I would appreciate any insights you may have on my symptoms, and my plan to run the gauntlet. Thanks for taking the time to read this.