So for the last year or so I've been fighting with GERD and have been losing weight I wasn't trying to lose, I assumed from the GERD (a combination of some days I feel too nauseous to eat; other days I'm hungry but really high calorie foods makes my GERD flare up!). I've always been slender and lost weight easily when sick, but I've lost 15 lbs and 2 pants sizes in the past year -- I'm 5'5" and down to 102 lbs and looking boney :(
So at my last follow-up with my PCP, I mentioned I was starting to get mild stomach cramps and he thought it was a mild case of IBS. Then I mentioned the weight loss and he had not realized how much weight I had lost (guess he hadn't noticed my weight in the older charts) -- after some rather pointed questions (heh), he now thinks that I have some anxiety issues that are perhaps causing or at least worsening my physical symptoms, in particular the IBS and weight loss. (I do think my GERD is caused by more than just stress though -- it started while I was on antibiotics for acne and I've since learned antibiotics can cause GERD. I also discovered I have poor esophagul motility... but the anxiety might make the GERD worse!)
Anyways, I've always been a Type A personality and my OCD tendencies have been getting worse the last few years -- while it's not bad enough that I've considered getting help, I do spend a bit more time than I should each day checking that lights are turned off and such ;) While I have been eating healthier lately, I still don't exercise much or get enough sleep. I also have a stressful job (software engineer) -- I actually just finished up a 2-month project of working insane hours, but I'm back to normal hours now ;) However, I worked similar insane hours in grad school and didn't have all these health issues or OCD tendencies... I don't really *think* I'm that stressed out now, but perhaps my body is manifesting some of that anxiety as physical symptoms instead... My husband was not too surprised when I told him about this anxiety diagnosis so maybe I'm just in denial ;)
So my doctor suggested working on getting more exercise and sleep, and he also gave me some Lexapro samples to try. Has anyone tried Lexapro? He said it would help me focus on what's actually important, and not stress out over the minor things (like checking if the lights are off!) Any side effects I should be aware of? He said the main side effects were dizziness or a feeling of being on the outside looking in (at least until your body adjusts to it)...
The doctor also said counselling could be an option, which I might consider at some point (though part of me says I know what I need to do, I just don't do it -- like exercise!)... considering that my husband and I were thinking about trying to get pregnant next year I need to be eliminating Rx's, not adding them! lol
Incidentally, my husband has been taking Paxil for years for generalized anxiety disorder. While he doesn't have the OCD tendencies, he did tell me that Paxil had a similar effect for him: it helped him to quit worrying about
the small stuff and focus on what's important. He started taking Paxil before I met him but he's always told me that the difference was like "night and day" when he started! (He was anxious even as a child...)
Diagnoses: GERD, small hiatal hernia, allergies (haven't been tested yet)
Medications: Nexium (GERD), Singulair (allergies), Tazorac (acne)
Note: I suspect my GERD was caused by taking antibiotics for acne. Please be careful about taking antibiotics when not necessary!