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The Acid Reflux Topic


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I'm another with a hiatal hernia. Not sure how I got it, but there it is. The Zegerid OTC first thing in the morning seems to work for me. The problem has lessened since I've lost some weight, but if I forget to take my pill, I am eventually reminded by mid-afternoon that I have because I can feel the acidity creeping up my throat and my stomach starts to do flips. I keep one bottle in my purse at all times and one on the sink to try and remind me to take it right after I've brushed my teeth. When I've taken it religiously I can eat anything I want.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I don't have rheumatoid arthritis but have had traumatic osteoarthritis, especially in my knees for many years and took a lot of NSAIDS until I had GI bleeding and my internist said that was the root cause of my stomach and esophagus problems as well as the GI symptoms, an "incipient ulcer". I can't even take aspirin now, much less Naproxyn or Ibuprofen and unfortunately I'm allergic to codeine. Oddly enough, while I still have some pain, I can mostly ignore it but I to have an electrical devise, something like an TENS unit to use but only rarely. If I keep my mind busy with reading or working and playing on the computer, I'm really unaware of the pain.

Unfortunately, since RA is a systemic, autoimmune disease, the NSAIDs do a lot more than just control pain for me. They're also critical in controlling the inflammation in the synovial fluid that eventually erodes the cartiledge and joints and causes the characteristic RA deformaties. They are, also unfortunately, a necessary evil. The TENS type thing also would be of limited use, since I never know which joint is going to bother me when. It can vary from day to day, or from morning to afternoon. Believe me, I am well aware of the dangers of long-term NSAID use; my Mom had RA for most of my life, and almost died from a perferated ulcer from them. Hopefully the PPI drugs will control the acidity enough to keep that in check for me.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

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I was diagnosed with GERD last year. I did not want to take pills so I first cut out everything on the "usual trigger" list: alcohol, caffeine, onions, garlic, chocolate, spices, fatty meat, citrus, tomatoes, etc. I also cut out grains and dairy in case it was an intolerance issue. This left me with a very simple diet of lean meat, fruit and vegetables. I ate only small meals, chewing everything to bits. I quit eating in the evening, and got a wedge pillow.

Although it wasn't my goal, on this regime I lost 25 pounds in a couple of months. This put me in extremely trim form. However, while the GERD improved, it was not totally gone.

So I spent some time testing my reaction to individual foods. People use rotation diets for this - you eat a lot of something one day, then eat it again, by itself, 4-5 days later and see what happens. I was able to add back some of the things I had eliminated, like grains and dairy. I also identified a few foods that really put the hurt on me, and that I would not have suspected if I was just eating them in combination with other foods in the course of a meal. Like banana and green grapes. I also find it very helpful to cook the hell out of some vegetables, like carrots and celery, and to avoid food with hard edges, like popcorn.

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In answer to feedmec00kies: no, I haven't noticed a seasonality to my GERD, but I'll keep a lookout for that now. Mine certainly does come and go in 'bunches'.

This is very interesting, all the replies...gives me a lot to think about re the NSAIDs, pain pills, particular foods, etc.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I also had no seasonal, bursts of reflux. What I did prior to Aciphex, was use the Axid or pepsins with a "Gas-X " kicker, occasionally , that would help. Again that is just me.

Paul.. Cheers

Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

Its good to have Morels

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Mine is definitely seasonal - I'm sure it's related to foods I eat at certain times of year. Don't do well with the PPI's myself (headache is a side effect of that class) and they don't work for me as well as prescription strength Pepcid.

Got a 2X4 under the head of the bed.

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I was heartburn and reflux free until my fifties. The first time I experienced heartburn was after eating some chocolate truffles at Christmas. I have had reflux off and on for about 10 years. I have discussed it with the doctor but don't take prescription medications. I take Pepcid Complete for heartburn and that holds it at bay. I try to avoid chocolate and coffee but love good cooking too much to modify my diet.

There are certain foods that trigger reflux - bread, pasta and Indian curries (not Thai!). Overeating will also cause it. It is exacerbated by stress (I hardly ever get it on vacation.) It always happens at night when I am lying down. I get it about 3 or 4 times a month.

I try to eat smaller meals and avoid bread or pizza at night (I can eat it without a problem during the day.)

I am interested that a gluten free diet could eliminate reflux but I am not yet willing to give up pasta and other baked goods that I enjoy. Maybe someday. :rolleyes:

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I had acid reflux. Burning of the esophagus constantly which worsened at night when I lay down to sleep. It is a painful thing to have. It was triggered by eating fatty foods, spicy foods, drinking red wine and being overweight.

I lost 50 lbs of excess weight, the acid reflux is gone, and now I can eat and drink what I want. :biggrin:

Life is short, eat dessert first

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I don't have rheumatoid arthritis but have had traumatic osteoarthritis, especially in my knees for many years and took a lot of NSAIDS until I had GI bleeding and my internist said that was the root cause of my stomach and esophagus problems as well as the GI symptoms, an "incipient ulcer". I can't even take aspirin now, much less Naproxyn or Ibuprofen and unfortunately I'm allergic to codeine. Oddly enough, while I still have some pain, I can mostly ignore it but I to have an electrical devise, something like an TENS unit to use but only rarely. If I keep my mind busy with reading or working and playing on the computer, I'm really unaware of the pain.

Unfortunately, since RA is a systemic, autoimmune disease, the NSAIDs do a lot more than just control pain for me. They're also critical in controlling the inflammation in the synovial fluid that eventually erodes the cartiledge and joints and causes the characteristic RA deformaties. They are, also unfortunately, a necessary evil. The TENS type thing also would be of limited use, since I never know which joint is going to bother me when. It can vary from day to day, or from morning to afternoon. Believe me, I am well aware of the dangers of long-term NSAID use; my Mom had RA for most of my life, and almost died from a perferated ulcer from them. Hopefully the PPI drugs will control the acidity enough to keep that in check for me.

I know how tough that can be. I worked for an opthopedic surgeon for almost 40 years, beginning as his x-ray technician and ending as his office manager/x-ray tech/transcriber and etc. He educated me on how to handle my OA and later the symptoms after I fractured a lumbar vertebra and blew out two discs. A complication was also being allergic to local anesthetics and became sensitive to cortisone. The endocrinologist I saw when I first suspected I had diabetes said that that was possibly a contributor.

I can't say that my GERD is seasonal or related to stress. I've really never been stressed for any significant period of time because I adjust fairly easily to things that get many people upset.

For 17+ years I had a daily 3 hour +/- commute to work and back in heavy traffic, sometimes much longer if there was an accident on the 14. Rather than sit, inching along, I would pull over read a book until the traffic thinned out and continue on so if that didn't stress me out, nothing would.

I'm sure mine is related to obesity, inactivity and eating the wrong things at the wrong time. When I was still showing dogs, before the arthritis in my knees became debilitating, I was not obese, was very active training the dogs as well as showing them and could eat anything with nary a hint of heartburn and I was an enthusiastic chile-head, the hotter the better.

The only time I have symptoms is if I eat too much of certain foods too late in the day or if I eat fatty foods and do not walk my minimum time afterward. Pizza with sausage and pepperoni after six p.m. is trouble with a capital "T" if you get my meaning. :sad:

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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So here is a caution - I too suffer from GERD on occasion and have for years. I take omeprazole whenever I feel an attack coming on. A year and a half ago I felt that old, familiar feeling starting up. So, I took an omeprazole. And waited. And, nothing improved. Then I got nauseous. A bit later I felt pain in my throat on the right side and when it travelled to my jaw I knew I was in trouble. Long story short - I was having a heart attack. The paramedics (wonderful people) came and carted me off and I spent a week at our friendly heart institute being tested, monitored, etc. I am now extremely vigilant when my GERD sysmtoms act up again. Fortunately, it doesn't happen often.

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The coffee/chocolate and coffee/milk combos have recently become so painful that I doubt if I'll ever eat a brownie with a glass of milk again -- sob! Bicarb and water does the trick.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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This is a subject that's dear to my heart :wink: .

I just happened to be at the doc's today for something totally unrelated and was talking to him about GERD. And got a handout:

GERD_0001.jpg

Thanks Doc. I'd only have to give up everything I love...but I already knew that!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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As noted above, I made drastic changes to my diet last year in response to GERD. One of the most interesting things about this experience (besides undergoing significant weight loss without trying!!!!) was that since I eat very simply now - at most I use some olive oil for cooking (no butter) - and salt - I can really taste vegetables. They are much more interesting than I thought. They are kind of like my new little friends. I actually don't miss my old eating habits at all except for the alcohol, and I do have a glass of wine now and then.

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I always get it at night.

But here is the catch, never from anything else but "Pastries/Desserts/Sweets" of any kind, but not from 'Ice Cream'!!

The other catch, never from homebaked or homemade "from-scratch".

So, other than my wife's preparations (or mine), stuff made with apparent 'pre-mixes' or 'storebought' will give me Heartburn after laying down for about 2/3 hours.

Remedy, and I love all sweets and can't always help it not eating 'any', when knowing that I will have some, not "Wolf Lair made", a couple of prescribed, and always on hand, including pocket,

" SUCRALFATE TABS 1GR "

Any spicy or fried or hot or fatty stuff does not bother me !

Peter
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This is a subject that's dear to my heart :wink: .

I just happened to be at the doc's today for something totally unrelated and was talking to him about GERD. And got a handout:

GERD_0001.jpg

Thanks Doc. I'd only have to give up everything I love...but I already knew that!

I know giving up the GIRDLES would be hard....... :raz:

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I always get it at night.

But here is the catch, never from anything else but "Pastries/Desserts/Sweets" of any kind, but not from 'Ice Cream'!!

The other catch, never from homebaked or homemade "from-scratch".

So, other than my wife's preparations (or mine), stuff made with apparent 'pre-mixes' or 'storebought' will give me Heartburn after laying down for about 2/3 hours.

Remedy, and I love all sweets and can't always help it not eating 'any', when knowing that I will have some, not "Wolf Lair made", a couple of prescribed, and always on hand, including pocket,

" SUCRALFATE TABS 1GR "

Any spicy or fried or hot or fatty stuff does not bother me !

From personal experience I know that soy lecithin, either liquid or granules, even in fairly small amounts, causes symptoms, especially in baked goods. This is one reason I bake most of my own breads &etc., because this is one thing that aggravates my condition.

I recently found a source for sunflower lecithin and will be trying it soon with hopes that it will not produce the same symptoms.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've had quite the ride with dealing with Acid Reflux the past two years. I'm currently on Nexium after trying Prilosec, Protonix, Aciphex and a couple of others whose name escapes me. As others have mentioned, it's a case of finding the right drug that treats your symptoms combined with the right insurance plan that will pay for it. (Of course, drug therapy is after you've tried to lose enough weight and change your diet enough to escape the symptoms).

According to my Doctors, Nexium is the "gold standard" for treating GERD, (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), in terms of the effectiveness. Unfortunately, Nexium is also one of the most expensive drugs for treatment. I am lucky in that my insurance covers 3-months of Nexium for a mere $30. Otherwise is would cost upwards of $900 if I didn't have insurance. It did take a couple of letters and calls from the Doctor to my insurance company to convince them that I needed to be on Nexium for the long-term--they apparently consider it to be a short-term drug.

I have the head of my bed elevated by a couple of blocks of 2 x 4. The theory of course being acid won't "reflux" back into your throat if your head is elevated. I can't really say if that's been effective.

In the past 2 years I've had 3 Endoscopy procedures where you are sedated and a scope is put down your throat and into the upper stomach to view your inner workings. It was on the first Endoscopy that they discovered a hiatal hernia, which I now realize some of you also have. Apparently many of us with Acid Reflux also have a hiatal hernia. My Doctors don't surgically treat the hernia alone--they only treat it is the sympotoms of Acid Reflux require surgery--then they repair the hernia during the procedure.

The last Endosopy I had include the "Bravo" technology where a small chip is sutured to your esophagus. Over the course of 2 1/2 days, the Bravo device sent electronic readings to a monitor I wore on my belt gauging the acid levels. In addition, I kept a journal of what I ate and when. The results were inconclusive--at times when the acid was high I didn't have symptoms like a cough or a feeling of acid reflux. During meals, the acid levels didn't increase. Right now we're just staying the course and no surgery is needed.

They've told me dairy, caffeine and spicy foods aggravate the condition. I have only found spicy foods in big quantities to aggravate the problems. And like Steven said in his opener-I could lose weight, which I constantly am trying to do, but the amount of weight would probably exceed 50lbs. for me to see a difference in symptoms. The jury in my case is out in terms of whether large weight loss would cure the acid reflux. The hernia wouldn't go away and that is a contributing factor that leads to acid reflux.

It hasn't had a serious impact on my life, but it isn't something I welcome either.

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Ah yes, GERD. I'm only in my mid-20s but I first started having symptoms near the end of my spring semester of my junior year of college. I was under a lot of stress at the time. Along with other stressors, I was also working for a professor who was a very difficult boss and, here's probably the big trigger, I would be so worried about coming late or how she would react to me bringing food to work on Fridays (when I worked directly with her) that I would run to my job without eating, start at 12pm, and end at 4pm. So between that and the stress, in the last weeks of the semester, I started to get nauseous often and threw up on several occasions.

When I went home I continued to feel nauseous all the time, and after assuming it was some sort of dairy intolerance and not finding anything conclusive (it would get worse when I had milk, like in my cereal, but lactaid pills changed nothing), I went to my doctor. I was told it was "dyspepsia", and told to take Pepcid AC regularly for 2 weeks so my esophogus could heal properly.

The Pepcid helped a bit, but after 2 weeks my recovery was stagnant. I started losing weight, because I was so nauseous that I couldn't always eat. (My symptoms present as nausea, not heartburn, and were pretty constant because my triggers were either hunger or having just eaten.) Eventually, I went to a gastroenterologist and after some tests got my first diagnosis of GERD. Since then I've seen two more and gotten another endoscopy to check for ulcers and H. pylori, but nothing was found. Along with the first two doctors I took several PPIs, but they didn't seem to help and I would stop taking the medication and seeing the doctors. Sometimes the symptoms were bothersome, but sometimes I would be so nauseous I couldn't do anything or threw up (or wished I could, for relief). I also had to make sure to have food available at pretty much all times, because if the nausea gets too severe I'm unable to eat.

To me that just sounds like a symptom of IBS, and even though the external stressors affecting you before are no longer present, there may be stressors present that you don't realize are stressors, or maybe you just haven't been able to let go of the previous stress. I've had the same problem since childhood--whenever I'm under a lot of stress, I can't eat and feel nauseated whenever I'm around food (even when I was very young--like 5 or 6--when I was nervous I used to throw up the most benign foods like plain rice, soda crackers, and stale ginger ale. . . even rolaids).

I think doctors are too quick to prescribe meds on a long term basis for things like GERD, IBS, high blood pressure, etc. My symptoms of IBS have never been severe for long periods of time, so my doctor refused to prescribe meds, and just gave me information for managing it. I had to keep a diary for a while to determine what foods were triggers, and also which moods or events affected me. I also had to incorporate participation in some stress-relieving activities on a regular basis. For me, exercising more helped tons (ashtanga yoga and speed walking in particular), but meditation not so much (mostly because I can't seem to do it). The foods that were triggers of other symptoms are mostly foods I really love, so I just try to eat them less because I love them too much to eliminate them completely.

An anecdote about stressors affecting digestion--several years ago, a friend started having trouble eating. Any kind of food made her feel nauseated, and she started losing weight (she was quite slender to begin with). I told her about the possibility of stress being the cause, and she said she didn't think that was the problem because she didn't feel stressed at all. And she said the same thing happened to her when she was about 6 years old, and who's stressed at 6?

Months later, we met for lunch and she told me she had figured it out. Until she was 6, she attended a Montessori school she loved. But then her younger sister was born and had some medical issues, so her parents didn't have the time to drive my friend to and from that school anymore. She was then put into a public school that she hated. That's when the problem started. And she realized the "illness" ended when she was able to return to the Montessori school a year later. And for the more recent event, her husband had become self-employed and more or less took over the entire house with his work--not even the dinner table was clear. For her, it was very important to have a clear dinner table (it provided comfort), and not having that was the stressor. She discussed the issue with him, and he made sure to always leave at least part of the table clear. Wouldn't you know it, her nausea cleared up a short time later.

Your case may be very different, but there's no harm in looking more deeply into what may currently be happening in your life that could be stressful. Who knows. . .maybe your dinner table is too cluttered?

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I, too, have Hiatal Hernia and GERD. I had used Tums for a long time but one day after a night meal of pizza and beer and eating some more of the pizza for lunch I felt as though I was having a heart attack. My partner took me to the hospital and after being treated very well by ER staff, it was diagnosed as GERD. More tests followed and they found the hernia.

My Dr. told me recently that it had gotten worse which was what was triggering breathlessness.

I was on Prevacid for years and it worked fine but the insurance decided they wouldn't pay for it any more. I'm now on Omeprazole and it works OK but not quite as well.

I still have to be careful of fatty meals, coffee, over indulging in chocolate. Very spicy food can set it off but it has to be a lot.

No aspirin or other NSAIDs. I'm managing alright most of the time and if it flairs I know it's my own fault for not watching. Still love pizza, though.

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To me that just sounds like a symptom of IBS, and even though the external stressors affecting you before are no longer present, there may be stressors present that you don't realize are stressors, or maybe you just haven't been able to let go of the previous stress. I've had the same problem since childhood--whenever I'm under a lot of stress, I can't eat and feel nauseated whenever I'm around food (even when I was very young--like 5 or 6--when I was nervous I used to throw up the most benign foods like plain rice, soda crackers, and stale ginger ale. . . even rolaids).

I think doctors are too quick to prescribe meds on a long term basis for things like GERD, IBS, high blood pressure, etc. My symptoms of IBS have never been severe for long periods of time, so my doctor refused to prescribe meds, and just gave me information for managing it. I had to keep a diary for a while to determine what foods were triggers, and also which moods or events affected me. I also had to incorporate participation in some stress-relieving activities on a regular basis. For me, exercising more helped tons (ashtanga yoga and speed walking in particular), but meditation not so much (mostly because I can't seem to do it). The foods that were triggers of other symptoms are mostly foods I really love, so I just try to eat them less because I love them too much to eliminate them completely.

An anecdote about stressors affecting digestion--several years ago, a friend started having trouble eating. Any kind of food made her feel nauseated, and she started losing weight (she was quite slender to begin with). I told her about the possibility of stress being the cause, and she said she didn't think that was the problem because she didn't feel stressed at all. And she said the same thing happened to her when she was about 6 years old, and who's stressed at 6?

Months later, we met for lunch and she told me she had figured it out. Until she was 6, she attended a Montessori school she loved. But then her younger sister was born and had some medical issues, so her parents didn't have the time to drive my friend to and from that school anymore. She was then put into a public school that she hated. That's when the problem started. And she realized the "illness" ended when she was able to return to the Montessori school a year later. And for the more recent event, her husband had become self-employed and more or less took over the entire house with his work--not even the dinner table was clear. For her, it was very important to have a clear dinner table (it provided comfort), and not having that was the stressor. She discussed the issue with him, and he made sure to always leave at least part of the table clear. Wouldn't you know it, her nausea cleared up a short time later.

Your case may be very different, but there's no harm in looking more deeply into what may currently be happening in your life that could be stressful. Who knows. . .maybe your dinner table is too cluttered?

It's definitely not IBS. The pain and discomfort associated with this is centered around the sphincter that separates my esphogus and stomach, which is the one that is problematic for anyone with GERD. There IS question of whether it is acid or bile, but it doesn't really change treatment.

I'd love to go off of medication, and I have with past ones after a month (because I gave up on them since they didn't seem to help), but at this point, I'm matched up too well with Zegerid and if I forget it for a day I notice so I don't want to stop. The last (and best, overwhelmingly) gastroenterologist I've seen was hoping to make medication a short-term solution, combined with the elevated bed, with the hopes that things would heal enough that I could stop medication completely. He even tried some other kinds of medication: an anti-spasmotic (because it's pretty benign but sometimes helps people, especially when stress is a cause) but it didn't do anything; and sucralfate, which actually made symptoms extremely bad (despite also being a relatively safe drug) an hour after I took it. So, despite my doctor's best intentions, we haven't been able to find a solution.

I did start therapy several months ago (for several reasons), and asked to have stress reduction to help minimize GERD symptoms to be part of my treatment plan, so hopefully that will help. Certain stressors make it worse, but it's been pretty much ever-present since the symptoms showed up. The only really constant is mild anxiety, since it started when I was still a college student and things have changed a lot since then.

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