21 year old suffering from gastritis/GERD

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Hi everyone, this is my first post on this forum as I'm getting pretty desperate for help.

I'm a 21 year old college student and I've been sufferering from GERD and gastritis since mid December. My symptoms are an almost constant sore throat, burning in my chest, and pain towards the center of my back as well as an unpredictable stomach as far as bloating and random cramps. I had an endoscopy a few weeks ago which confirmed that my stomach was slightly inflammed but no other issues.

All of this seems to be a mystery to me as these symptoms came on almost suddenly and I'm a healthy/active 21 year old guy. The only thing that seems to get rid of the GERD is when I remove grains from my diet, but I can only eat so many sweet potatoes and so I've been losing weight (I'm already very thin).

When these symptoms started, I was relatively stressed out from work and I was also borderline binge eating before and after work because I was trying to put on weight and we don't have much time to eat on the job. I had increased my consumption of grains as well as nuts to try and get in more calories. I've cut back on both since, with relief from the GERD (but not the stomach bloating/cramps) when I totally eliminate grains from my diet. I also try to eat smaller meals throughout the day now instead of 3 big meals.

I've always been a pretty postive person and therefor I'm not letting this condition keep me out of the gym and from socializing with friends, however it is disheartening to see myself getting weaker and having to order vegetables and meat everytime I go out with friends who are all getting burgers and a beer.

(NOTE: I've been prescribed omeprazole which I stopped taking after 2 weeks because it seemed to be making things worse. I've also tried digestive enzymes, ACV, and HCL)

Sorry for the long post, but any help is much appreciated!



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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Shawn, sorry about your troubles. The med you were on can take one to two weeks to have its acid-reducing effect, but where one is definitely causing issues, then another might be tried. To get the stomach inflammation eased is a main goal, and the smaller, frequent meals measure, along with those below, might help you. But time and patience are needed. These troubles are seldom quickly improved or eradicated, so two weeks of one med and so on likely wouldn't get you far.

    In some cases an H. Pylori stomach infection can be one cause, but that's a thing medical tests need to show, so do keep your doctor involved to look further into all this.

    Getting weight on and keeping it on can be the trickiest thing, especially when certain foods can commonly make matters worse. But have a read of the measures anyway, and those of other sufferers on the site - and maybe the net too, including with regard to diets for gastritis and GERD. And I'm afraid the gym activity could also impact badly on your stomach, so you might have to alter that too. It's very hard, but I wish you well.

    Several small/medium meals per day (I have seven medium, one every two hours or so), rather than fewer bigger meals, so you don't overfill your stomach. Eat relaxed, chew well. Be sat upright for and after meals, so you don't squash your stomach and press its contents upwards.

    Fried foods, greasy, oily, high-fat foods/meats, butter, cheese, full-fat dairy, high-salt foods, spicy-hot foods, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, peppers, carbonated drinks, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate can all impact on stomach and reflux troubles for some people, so personal experimentation is key. Minty foods relax the lower oesophageal muscle, as do some of the above foods and drinks, which can let acid/pepsin up easier and cause heartburn, etc, so they are bad. I use a fruity toothpaste and strawberry gaviscon tablets for the occasional reflux acid burn.

    Wholewheat bread, cereals, bananas, hardboiled eggs are a few of the foods that suit me, but there are pulses, rice, various beans (not kidney beans apparently) and many other things to try. Chicken is one of the best meats due to its lower fat content. Trial and error.

    Stress, excercise and bending activity that pressure and squeeze the stomach are also to be avoided. Be as calm and stress-free as you can.

    Having your last meal a few hours before bed can prevent or lessen reflux at night, but I found that waiting to be too empty caused hunger discomfort, assorted spasms and kept me awake or caused some burning through the spasms. I lie down about an hour and a half to two hours after last meal raised a bit on three pillows, on my right side, though the left side is usually recommended and there were test results to support this as being best for many people. Other people raise the bed-head itself about 6 to 8 inches with blocks or bricks, or use a wedge-pillow affair..

    Another thing that helps me is to not burp after ten minutes after eating, as burping can bring acid up and cause heartburn. I get the swallowed air out gently just after the meal, sittiing a little forward, then don't burp till after the next meal.

    Water triggering heartburn is common, even with some non-ill people. I get my daily water requirement by drinking around 140 ml or bit more with each meal, which, in my case, is added to by some drinks of a nutrition drink or very low fat milkshake. So generally I don't have to drink between meals. Everyone has to find their routine to get sufficient fluid.

    In tests there was an indication that some people with reflux suffer heartburn through drinking water in several gulps because their lower oesophageal muscle doesn't open and close correctly when doing this with fluid, and so acid/pepsin can escape upwards. But just adding water to your stomach between meals, when there is still food and fluids in there, will increase its volume and raise it nearer to the top where the muscle is, the pressure of which, if too much water is drunk, can then cause the muscle to open and let stomach fluid up. Cold water can also cause spasms, so sips of usual water is best.

    Some say to drink water only between meals at points when the stomach is empty, but this cannot be done in my case where I need to eat every couple of hours or will lose more weight by slowing digestion down. So it's a matter for the individual.

    Oat milk, rice milk, almond milk or soya milk are good milk substitutes for people who don't/can't have dairy, unless a person has issues with them. But we are all different, so, again, trial and error is the way.

    I have been having some very low-fat milk-shake drinks lately, and they have not impacted badly on me compared to how, for example, butter on bread always did.

    I am also having some peanut butter - very bad normally for these illnesses - with two of my sandwich meals each day, and this might go badly in time, but for now quite ok, and is good for helping me get some more fat into my diet and extra body-weight on.

    • Posted

      Hi Paul, thank you for the response. I'm mainly trying to conquer this illness without the PPIs due to not wanting to become dependent on them. I did however just pick up some DGL tonight which I will be experimenting with. For some reason I don't seem to have any problem with things like tomato sauce as most people experience. My problem seems to be linked specifically to grains as I cannot have whole wheat bread, or even white rice without experiencing some discomfort. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are game over for me unfortunately. I've also had tests done for H. Pylori and Celiac disease which all came back negative. These tips are much appreciated and best of luck to you in finding relief!
  • Posted

    Hi. I think you should look for SIBO test. Its bacteria in the small intestine. Symtoms are bloading, nauseas, etc. The bacteria feed from grains, sugar, etc. You can use antibiotics o natural supplements to erradicate the bacteria + diet.

    Look for Sibo and acid reflux to have a better idea. People with SIBO must be on a very restrictive diet mainly protein and veggies and some fruits depending on the diet they are following.

    Naturopathic Doctors believe that SIBO cause acid reflux. I hope this helps.

    One more thing stay away from ppi or ranitidina until you get the test. That makes sibo worst.

    • Posted

      A lot of patients with sibo find relief only with the diet (sounds like your case) but every time they reintroduce grains symtomps came back. That its why I suggets you look for the test.
    • Posted

      Thank you for the suggestion, I may look into this test, however my recent endoscopy revieled that my small intestine looked fine and the only inflammation was observed in the stomach. I am definitely avoiding the PPI in the meantime regardless.
    • Posted

      Endoscopy its not use for sibo. The test for sibo its a breath test. I had an endoscopy too and Dr said only acid reflux. After that and because of my symptoms I went to another Dr who offer sibo test. I never knew about acid reflux or sibo. I didnt have any symptom before. It just happen from one day to another. Sibo cause a lot of problems. Im sad that I have it but glad that I know now.

      Good luck!

  • Posted

    Hi, i don't know if this will help, but I'm currently taking traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) for my silent reflux.

    After ppis and diets weren't doing much for me, so I decided to see a Chinese doctor. The medicine has helped a lot. My breathing problem is better, I don't get the lump in the throat feeling anymore and I burp less.

    Yeah so this is my own experience now, it'll be good if it can help you in anyway. I'm in my early twenties as well so I know how bad it feels to get acid reflux, especially at such a young age.

  • Posted


    I have a weak cardio-oesophangeal junction and reflux. I'm on a weighting list to have anti-reflex surgery. I had a barium swallow then upper GI endoscopy, that diagnosed that I had osèophagitis and a lax cardio-oesophangeal junction. I have also now had a manometer which was not very pleasant but I manage to get through it with the help of the loverly caring NHS staff at St Peters Hospital.

    Try not to skip meals as that makes things worse I know from exsperance as have to try force myself to not skip breakfast or

    any meals.

    I took Lansoprazole 30mg at first.then they changed it to 20mg

    Omeprazole twice a day after the upper GI endoscopy but they did not agree with me. Made me feel very bloated and windy stomach cramps.

    My surgeon changed them to 300mg Ranitidine at night and 30 mg Lansoprazole in morning it dose help. Stress make you a lot worse so try and avoid getting too stressed I know hard but you will be in pain if you don't. Speaking again from exsperance. Try let things go over your head so to speech.

    Try sleeping on left side too it dose help. Prop bed up on bricks. Watch what you eat. Try small meals.

    Hope this helps you a bit.

    I'm due to see my surgeon again on 28th April before my surgery which scares me. But been reading up what people put on this site.

    Not looking forward to only being on liquid diet but on plus side

    for me I can lose some weight. not that I big just put on bit weight were felt so bloated at times.


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