GERD (Acid Reflux)

AzStevenCal

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Anyone here dealing with esophageal issues (such as a diverticulum) or stomach acid problems?

I saw a Gastroenterologist almost 2 years ago but I got zero usable information from him, the closest he came to offering any suggestion or explanation came when he handed me a brochure on FODMAPs (which doesn't appear to even relate to my problems). I don't have IBS or Crohn's or any of the other conditions that might typically call for such an extreme elimination diet, so, in addition to wondering why he pushed me towards a FODMAP diet, I'm left to figuring this out on my own without real medical assistance.

That GI doctor I saw was actually my second recent attempt to get info from a Gastroenterologist but neither one of them had much interest in me once I declined their offer of a colonoscopy. I believe I'm getting stuck with junior residents each time and they seem to be all about finding the next fool that wants to be scoped rather than actually addressing the underlying problem(s).

I turned 65 yesterday and I've already had 11 colonoscopies and I am disinclined to do one again unless I find a Dr that can give me a real reason (not just the standard "you're due" excuse) as there are much safer and less invasive ways to examine a person's digestive system.

In the meantime, I'm at serious risk of aspiration pneumonia (had it once already, it put me in the ER and I nearly died from it) and among other things the stomach acid is eating away the enamel of my teeth and is seriously increasing my risk of Cancer of the Esophagus.

I already eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and I've recently added gum to my post meal routine (gum chewing/salivating helps remove the reflux acid from your mouth and perhaps elsewhere) but I'm interested in learning what might have worked for others here?
 

Dback Jon

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Have they done an endoscopy?

I was diagnosed with GERD, and Barrett's esophagus (an erosion of the esophagus that is strongly tied to cancer). I have been on Nexium ever since. Nexium (and the generic equivalent) is the only medication that eliminates Barrett's (which my last endoscopy a couple years ago confirmed was healed).
 

JerkFace

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I also take Nexium. I tried pretty much everything to no avail but Nexium has been a godsend.
 

StreetTruckinTitan

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I had chronic acid reflux and digestive issues before I did my own research (with no help from my doctors) and discovered I was allergic to wheat gluten. I cut out all wheat and its derivatives out of my diet and after a week or two my symptoms went away. I stopped taking my acid blockers the docs prescribed and havent needed them since.
 
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AzStevenCal

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Have they done an endoscopy?

I was diagnosed with GERD, and Barrett's esophagus (an erosion of the esophagus that is strongly tied to cancer). I have been on Nexium ever since. Nexium (and the generic equivalent) is the only medication that eliminates Barrett's (which my last endoscopy a couple years ago confirmed was healed).

Yeah, I don't fight them on an Upper Endoscopy, I seem to tolerate it fairly well as long as they go from above. But a flexible Sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy (or lower endoscopy) all cause intense post-procedure pain that typically lasts at least a week.

I'm familiar with Barrett's, my problem is similar though not quite the same and can lead to it (might have already as I am 2 years removed from my most recent exams). In addition to Gerd, I've lived with an epiphrenic diverticulum for almost 20 years now. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting much larger/worse the past few years.

From what I've read, Nexium seems to be the better PPI choice for your problem and mine but the VA put me on Prilosec instead. I know that the VA often limits the drug options available so maybe my doctor had no choice? The size, shape and texture of the prescription form of Prilosec is such that I had to stop taking it because it would always end up in my diverticulum forcing me to regurgitate it (and anything else I tried to swallow for some time afterward).

Anyway, did you make significant diet and lifestyle changes to deal with GERD? And, if so, what did you do?
 
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AzStevenCal

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I had chronic acid reflux and digestive issues before I did my own research (with no help from my doctors) and discovered I was allergic to wheat gluten. I cut out all wheat and its derivatives out of my diet and after a week or two my symptoms went away. I stopped taking my acid blockers the docs prescribed and havent needed them since.

Yeah, I took wheat out of my diet a few years ago but it didn't seem to help. I rarely have bread of any sort now and it's helped in other ways but not with the acid.

I have to admit I'm surprised how many people have these kind of problems with little help coming from the medical community. I've lived with serious health problems since 1976 and I'm used to working closely with a knowledgable medical team so this experience runs counter to what I'm used to.
 

Dback Jon

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Insurance companies will always steer you to non-Nexium first, but you have to persist to get it.

Diet modifications help - Ice Cream bothers me, especially in the evening. Spicy foods late as well. A slice of bread and butter before bed actually helps if I am feeling like I will have problems at night.
 
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AzStevenCal

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Insurance companies will always steer you to non-Nexium first, but you have to persist to get it.

Diet modifications help - Ice Cream bothers me, especially in the evening. Spicy foods late as well. A slice of bread and butter before bed actually helps if I am feeling like I will have problems at night.

That's interesting about the late night bread and butter. Hopefully there's a late night fix for me too although I doubt it will be that one.

Ice Cream and spicy foods have been issues for me too. Giving up Ice Cream wasn't much of a challenge but I absolutely love spicy foods and find myself dragging my feet when it comes to eliminating them completely.

I gave up Italian food, which is my second favorite type to eat, but I just don't know how I can give up Mexican Food. I suspect my mom pureed tacos, tamales, burritos etc. so she could feed them to me in my bottle, I really don't remember a time in my life without Mexican food.
 

Raindog

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I have issues with it, but more at night when sleeping rather than while awake. Waking in the middle of the night choking on/aspirating regurgitation is pretty terrifying and painful, as you are probably aware. Although, based on what you wrote, I am not sure if that is the same problem as you have (ie, GERD while sleeping). So you may or may not be aware that the best fix for that is mechanical rather than pharmaceutical.

And a genuinely unpleasant side effect of using many antacids is the greatly increased risk of developing kidney stones - with which I had a serious enough incident that it lead to a bout of kidney failure... which is quite a bit more unpleasant than the GERD (as bad it is).
 

Dback Jon

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The other type of food that bothers me if I eat it late is tomato sauce - pizza, italian, etc.
 

Dback Jon

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I have issues with it, but more at night when sleeping rather than while awake. Waking in the middle of the night choking on/aspirating regurgitation is pretty terrifying and painful, as you are probably aware. Although, based on what you wrote, I am not sure if that is the same problem as you have (ie, GERD while sleeping). So you may or may not be aware that the best fix for that is mechanical rather than pharmaceutical.

And a genuinely unpleasant side effect of using many antacids is the greatly increased risk of developing kidney stones - with which I had a serious enough incident that it lead to a bout of kidney failure... which is quite a bit more unpleasant than the GERD (as bad it is).


when you say mechanical, are you referring to elevating your head? Or something else.

My doctor and I go over the side effects of Nexium - yes, long term can be bad, but so is cancer.
 
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AzStevenCal

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I have issues with it, but more at night when sleeping rather than while awake. Waking in the middle of the night choking on/aspirating regurgitation is pretty terrifying and painful, as you are probably aware. Although, based on what you wrote, I am not sure if that is the same problem as you have (ie, GERD while sleeping). So you may or may not be aware that the best fix for that is mechanical rather than pharmaceutical.

And a genuinely unpleasant side effect of using many antacids is the greatly increased risk of developing kidney stones - with which I had a serious enough incident that it lead to a bout of kidney failure... which is quite a bit more unpleasant than the GERD (as bad it is).

I'm not sure who you were responding to but if it's me, you're right, it's not quite the same problem I have. I drink a lot of water following each meal which inevitably forces me to regurgitate everything that ended up in my diverticulum. I keep drinking water and regurgitating (a few hundred times every day) until I only bring up clear water to avoid having it occur while sleeping and to reduce my risk of cancer. Still, the process of bringing up food or stomach acid puts anyone at risk for aspiration.

I didn't know about the antacid risk but you're correct, as a general statement, kidney failure is far worse than GERD typically is. In fact, my Gerd hasn't advanced as far as it apparently has for a few other posters here and as such is quite low on my personal list of health problems but unlike all the others, it's something I might be able to do something about.
 

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I'm 36 years old and recently had an endoscopy done by the gastroenterologist. He confirmed I had GERD and prescribed me pantoprazole. It's a very small pill and honestly I can get away with taking it once every 2 or 3 days. I've tried using digestive enzymes, probiotics, taking hydrochloric acid, and drinking Apple cider vinegar before every meal. All attempts did not fix the issue so I'm totally okay with taking PPIs for the rest of my life if it reduces the chances of esophagal cancer.
 

StreetTruckinTitan

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I think y'all should get a full panel allergy test to see what foods are triggering this adverse immune response. Something youre eating is causing inflamation and the only way to solve your problem is removing the irritant from your diet.
 
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AzStevenCal

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I think y'all should get a full panel allergy test to see what foods are triggering this adverse immune response. Something youre eating is causing inflamation and the only way to solve your problem is removing the irritant from your diet.

I really know nothing about this but is it actually this simple? I ask because it seems that something like the FODMAP diet wouldn't exist if a full panel allergy test could truly solve the mystery.
 

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