Is this reflux?

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Hi, expect a whiny post. 

Basically, I don't know if I have acid relux as I've never had it before and don't really know what feels like. I have a sore throat, pressure in ears and I burp a lot throughout the day. I also feel like my stomach is full sometimes as if I have eaten a large meal (when usually I haven't) and very rarely it does feel like things could be going up my esophagus, but I don't really know if they are. There isn't any burning and I never get heart burn or chest pain. I also feel nauseous continuously most days. 

I was prescribed omeprazole but didn't take it as I don't want to treat this with drugs I want to get to the bottom of it. My doctors have also been investigating IBS potential.

Anyway, I've now been doing more research into what acid relux and GERD is and for many who have it, the outlook for treatment is drugs. This worries me very much as I'm only 27 and very underweight and have led a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore there are certain lifestyle changes such as cutting down on tomatoes and alcohol which just seems very dismal for a young person. I want to enjoy going out with my mates and get tipsy still - I don't have children or commitments so this seems horrible if I have to give up my lifestyle. 

Basically, I want to know if anybody has taken omeprazole, cured their acid reflux symptoms and then stopped it and returned to their normal lifestyle/routine?  I'm feeling very anxious about all of this as it's been going on for months. 

Thank you for answering and apologies for spelling errors. 

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19 Replies

  • Posted

    If you are refluxing acid, you have to get it under control.

    It is important to identify what foods may be causing excess acid before you can control your diet. Keep a food diary to help. Tomatoes are a trigger for some but not others. Similalrly alcohol.

    Many will try to tell you to eat this and to avoid that but we are all different and respond to foods differently.

    Fats are an obvious target as they do not breal down in stomach acid and remain longer being churned and sprayed with acid that is not neutralised. Eventually some bile may be permitted into the stomach to act as an emulsifier for the acid to attack the fats. Unfortunately if that bile also refluxes along with the acid, it can start attacking the lining of the oesophagus. In an attempt to protect the body, the cells can be replaced by columnar ones (= Barrett's oesophagus; a permanent change which has the slight possibility of mutation to cancer).

    So it is important to reduce acid and reflux.

    Reflux results from a malfunctioning lower oesophageal sphincter which is often due to a hiatus hernia.

    There is no simple medication to control reflux but there is medication to reduce acid. Omeprazole is a Proton Pump Inhibitor that reduces the amount of acid the stomach produces. In that respect, it is literally a life-saver for millions.

    I was on omperazole for 15 years before I had an operation to reduce the reflux instead. Many end up having to take it for life. (Research evidence suggests it has a chemo-protective effect to prevent Barrett's mutating to cancer.)

    But if you have "simple" GORD, a course of a few weeks on omeprazole may be sufficient to clear it up - along with any lifestyle changes to limit reflux and dietary changes you identify.

    See the www DownWithAcid org uk website / book for more details.

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    • Posted

      The simple answer is both. Acid refluxing will cause inflammation and scarring but, as with oil and water, acid doesn't bind to tissue, it needs an emuslifier (like washing up liquid that will allow water to bind with grease). Bile is that emulsifier, so if acid and bile reflux together, the oesophagus itself could start to be digested. Barrett's is the body's way of protecting itself - replacing the squamous cells with columnar ones.
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    • Posted

      So if i stop eating all fried ,fatty food that should do the trick? (never had heartburn only pains in chest with trapped wind and endoscopy showed GORD and Barretts end of April this yr.)  I have not been on any meds since end of September but I can now identify what starts the indigestion...its the way I sit ( cant really sit other than upright and sleep on a wedge and have to lie on my right side..the left side causes me severe problems immediately ) and holding any thing directly on my stomach ..like an ipad will immediately start the pain...regardless of when i had last eaten..(I am not overweight...BMI of 19) 

      ​I do eat and drink everything and anything I fancy including fried foods ..so if I stop the fried foods will it stop reflux or that just stops Barretts developing further?

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    • Posted

      It's not easy to give a definitive instruction manual.

      It's possible to have reflux and not expereince the pain of heartburn.

      Reflux is exacerbated by a hiatus hernia which you'll most certainly have. You just need to do as much as you can to reduce the chances of reflux. Think of the stomach as a balloon full of liquid only held losely by its open neck. You don't want it to spill or be squeezed out.

      If you fancy fried foods, only have a small amount at a time and have some Gaviscon handy. It probably won't actually cause the reflux but will most probably result in extra acid and possibly bile.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the explanation Barrets and advice.

      After the 1st endoscopy I had asked the gastoenterlogist if I had a hiatus hernia as 100% of my kids ( all 2 of them) were both born with hiatus hernias (1st had the fundoplication when she was 2 yrs old...in 1979...abdomen scarred from side to side  and with the 2nd 1 who was not as severe as the 1st  the consultant said....no need ..those were the bad old days)

      ​When I had the follow up endoscopy the gastro (different person) didnt mention hiatus hernia and I didnt think it would be there 3 months later if it wasnt there the 1st time round.

      I am supposed to go back for another follow up in August next yr so perhaps will ask again.

      And I will definitely keep the Gaviscon with me at all times. 

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    • Posted

      From a paper, "Management of Barrett esophagus: a practical guide for clinicians",  published in October: "We agreed on a unique global definition of BE meaning that the presence both of hiatus hernia endoscopically and of intestinal metaplasia histologically should be noted." - so everyone with Barrett's has hiatus hernia.

      A paper published in November, "Does Sedation Affect Examination of Esophagogastric Junction during Upper Endoscopy?" concluded, "Sedation can impede the detection of minimal change esophagitis and hiatal hernia, but does not influence detection of reflux esophagitis of definite severity and Barrett's esophagus." - so if you were sedated, it may not have shown. The endoscopic view of hiatus hernia can also be difficult to distinguish form Barrett's mucosa.

      Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I am still 19 years old and ive been suffering with acid reflux for a year now and this month I also found out that I have a hiatal hernia.

    I am nauseous most of the time which is really unberable and exhausting, and I was diagnosed with hiatal hernia by doing a barium swallow test.

    I cut off all alcohol, beverages especially coca cola, pastry , food related with tomatoes, pizza etc since when I take these it will trigger more the acid reflux and its really frustating where I am going out for dinner or to party and I cant take anything.

    I am still waiting for my professor to give me the final results so for now I still havent found a way to control it.

    Goodluck smile

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I started off with reflux when I was about 18 and tried to control it with 30mg lanzoprazole twice a day, inbetween I wss taking gaviscon, ranitidine and rennies with absolutely no effect. At 24 (last year) I went for various tests including a pH study, a manometry study and a gastrostopy.. Each one as unpleasant as the other. Following this I was diagnosed with chronic reflux and I had my fundoplication surgery in March of this year to correct this. Since having my surgery I have noticed amazing results in relation to reflux but I have been so strict with myself in relation to what I eat, eat and in general my life style choices. I haven't had a fizzy drink since way before my op, I don't eat tomatoes, I don't touch coffee, I cut down majorly on tea and just opt for herbal teas instead which are brilliant for reflux (try ginger tea for feeling sick, it's absolutely brilliant. Tastes very odd at first but you just get used to it and it becomes nice.) I bought a wedge to prop myself up at night time which is great. I eat six times a day but small things to keep reflux at bay. Do not eat 3 hours before bed time. I know your only 27 as you say, and I'm only 25. Trust me, I'd do anything to go back to being able to go out with my friends and have a great time but it's not worth the feeling of reflux. Having said that, I am able to live a bit more wildly recently, I just drink red wine as I find it the least acidic drink and I'm fine with it. Hope this helps.

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  • Posted

    Hello,

    It is upsetting to see so many people suffering through these stomach-related illnesses, so I thought I’d give my experience with gastritis since late 2012. Maybe it will benefit someone even in some small way, though each of us is individual, and what helps or hinders one person might do the opposite for another. I am 54 and also suffer from ME/Chronic Fatigue, which adds its own issues, but they are separate to the stomach matter.

    Meal-size:

    Seven or eight small to medium meals of blandish foods per day is my best way, with six slices of brown bread, 3 hard-boiled eggs, certain beans, peas, pulses, cereals, bananas, a little chicken, water, oat milk, rice cakes, very small amounts of butter etc. Rices and pasta are also worth trying. I aim for the highest calorie foods I can, for gastritis makes gaining enough weight hard for me. Overfilling the stomach worsens gastritis and similar issues by swelling, weighting and over-pressuring the stomach. High-fat foods are bad for me, as are spicy, salty, chocolate, coffee, tea, mint - all of which can irritate tissues and, in the case of the last four items, relax the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle and allow stomach acid to escape easier and cause burn damage. Even minty toothpaste and mouthwashes are bad for me, and even helped bring on the gastritis, along with paracetamol and antibiotics that I had three times over as many months for tooth absesses. I switched to a child’s fruity toothpaste and rinse my mouth very thoroughly after using it. I am also on Fortisip nutrition drinks, for set-backs made me lose weight I’d gained by having to drop some foods that were helping until I overdid them and made the condition worse again.

    Meal-times

    Mealtimes should be calm and relaxed, with thorough chewing to make digestion easier. No chatting or eating on the fly. And have as good an upright posture during and after eating as possible.

    Last Meal of the Day

    I’ve seen people recommend not eating from evening till next morning, or not after three hours before bed. Both are utterly wrong for me. To go to bed hungry is a nightmare. I can’t sleep because my stomach is telling me to eat, just like it’s supposed to do, and I end up having hunger pangs, stomach pain, oesophageal and abdominal muscle spasms. I eat at least an hour and a half before lying down and that is much better (My last meal is a second cereal one of two shredded wheat, half a banana and few unheated porridge oats mixed in, with water, not milk, though you might be ok with milk or a milk alternative if you have daily cereal or milk to drink in the day). Unless your lower oesophageal sphincter muscle is slack (a thing surgery might help) I would suggest not going to bed in a hungry or close to hunger state. I also sleep on my right side, which aids the stomach contents being closer to the exit of the stomach rather than the top entrance where I seem most inflamed and where any acid escaping into my oesophagus will naturally worsen matters. (Familiarise yourself with the position and structure of the stomach through online images.) Being raised more on an extra pillow might also help.

    Belching

    In my experience, to belch later than ten minutes or so after a meal could bring up a degree of stomach acid which would give me yet another painful heartburn damage set-back. To belch swallowed air only for ten minutes or so after a meal is great. Never ever after that until after the next meal. Coughing or sneezing is also avoided where possible, though they won’t necessarily cause acid to squirt up from the stomach like belching can.

    Stress

    Stress is bad. Being wound-up, hurried, excited, even enthusiastically conversational can worsen matters. To be more like a monk in mental state is far better with this horrible illness.

    Exercise

    I can’t help but be very inactive through ME, but obviously to do any exercise or activity that causes abdominal muscle tension can impact on the tender, damaged stomach tissues, so they are to be avoided. This includes bending forward and down, which can squash the stomach like a balloon filled with water. Do things gently and with awareness of any possible impact they might have on the stomach.

    Medicines

    I was given an acid-production suppressant for two months initially, which actually made my oesophagus, throat and mouth worse, with awful dryness. I stopped taking the pills and developed over time the ways I have just detailed, which gradually gave me a better improvement. This is not necessarily what you should do, depending on your case, but even if you are on such medicine, the tips I am giving here could still be worthwhile to you. Great patience and trial and error with foods that help and foods that worsen is required, and that still goes on for me. But I am a bit better than I was and know now what makes things worse and so can avoid them. Any incidents of acid-damage/heartburn can be treated with any of the various antacids and what not, but minimising the times heartburn occurs, hopefully through my suggestions and those of other sufferers, is naturally far better than using antacids over and over.

    Doctor

    Your doctor is a must with regard to diagnosis and so on, but the matter of trial and error with experimental tries of different foods is a matter for you that can make a good difference in time, even if it doesn’t fully cure the illness. I wish you all well.

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    • Posted

      Hi Paul,

      So glad you've found what works for you.

      Your story foes to highlight how diverse the different conditions we lump together as "acid reflux" actually are.

      From your dagnosis, symptoms and solutions, it is apparent your problems are mainly due to acid hypersecretion which has caused thye gastritis which you've had to manage.

      Others find their main problem is the reflux which they have to manage (hence the not eating before you lie down).

      There are complications of too much acid and there are complications of reflux from stomach into oesophagus and from oesophagus into throat - and, of course, complications from combination of these.

      We are all different and our conditions may require different treatments accordingly.

      www DownWithAcid org uk may be a good reference for anyone reading this poat who wants to understand more about acid and/or reflux.

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    • Posted

      Hi Barretts

      ​Endoscopy report also said I had oesophagitis and chronic gastritis (also GORD and Barretts) Does every1 with GORD and Barretts also have gastritis and esophagitis ...the gastroenterlogists did not talk about the gastritis or esophagitis ..only talked about Barretts. Separate issues or all go hand in hand?  

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    • Posted

      GORD is basically reflux from the stomach to the oesophagus. It s usually acidic in that the stomach contains highly concentrated acid but it doesn't have to be. It can be NERD (Non-Erosive Reflux Disorder) but if it is acidic it can cause oesophagitis.

      Any of the -itis conditions (ie inflammation) is likely to be caused acid.

      Barrett's is caused by reflux of acid + bile. Although everyone with Barrett's will have had oesophagitis, they may not have had gastritis. The stomach is lined with columnar cells already to protect it. It requires acid hypersecretion to produce gastritis whereas any acid refluxing into the oesophagus can inflame it.

      Once acid over-production is controlled, the Barrett's will remain but the reflux may continue. All these issues will balance out in different ways with different patinets resulting in different reported symptoms and different symptomatic relief.

      In the appendices of the Down With Acid book, there is a list of symptoms that may be attributable to acid and those that may be attributable to reflux.

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  • Posted

    i was diagnosed with reflux a week ago. i love spicy food coz it's my comfort food. chocolates also. i dont drink coffee instead i do tea.. i dont eat junk foods, nor colas. husband is a fan of fried foods. 

    i'll be back to see my doc tom for follow up, im under med for pantor-40(pantoprazole) 2x a day since always wake up at night with acid feeling on my upper abdomen. also taking GI NORM coz i have that feeling something is stuck on my chest/throat after a meal, which helps me alot...

    when my reflux attacks, i always feel like i need to eat to relieve the pain, but it will only worsen it after a while. i think i need to do the 6x meal per day. coz pantroprazole doesnt help sometimes and i can taste that sour in my mouth even with low level of acid... i also have a bad sitting posture that adds to my chespains when im having hyper acidity... 

     

    i need help on what to eat and not. i used to drink alkaline and it helped me alot. should i go back to alkaline? thanks

     

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    • Posted

      A lot of the "advice" about what to eat or not is based on propagated myth. There is no "one size fits all" simple solution. If there were there wouldn't need to be forums like this.

      If spicy foods are bad, the Indian subcontinent would have the world's worst figures for acid reflux and Barrett's Oesophagus - which they don't. And many of the spices (eg curcumin) have medicinal properties.

      The chairty I co-founded and currently chair for Barrett's patients has an annual curry evening instigated by our senior consultant gastroenterologist.

      Animal fats in the food are worst. Indian curries are cooked at high temperature which drives off many of the harmful oils.

      The acidity of what you eat is also negligible when compared to the strength of the acid it will mix with in the stomach. It's like pouring a kettle of water in the ocean.

      You need to identify your own trigger foods by keeping a food diary.

      PPIs, like pantoprazole, reduce acid but may not reduce reflux. Acid carried by reflux can cause damage (eg Barrett's which has the ability to mutate to cancer) but even non-erosive reflux can cause problems if it aspirates into the respiratory system.

      Do eat small protions and more frequently. Do remain upright until the food has left your stomach. - particularly leaving at least 3 hours between your last meal and bed,

      Concentrate on reducing your reflux and leave the pantoprazole to manage the acid.

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    • Posted

      thanks for the reply... yeah i've been managing my reflux w/o the meds... hot packs can help alot specially during the night. my reflux is worst at night... im doing yoga now to help down the stress and anxiety. i guess it adds to my reflux... im also not a fan of any meds... but atleast it helps me in some ways. 

      will do the small portions and more frequently snacks. maybe a biscuit will help... 

      and yes, you got me thinking on the spicy foods. since ive been a fan of it like half of my llife and the reflux is only recently... i also drink turmeric tea, not the one on the pack. the turmeric ginger itself boiled smile and it helps to calm my stomach and relives gas..

      i had chest xray done, normal. the only problem is i have allergy in the morning from sleeping with AC on the entire night. i dont take meds only lemon water, and it helps... i guess... 

      btw, what is the diffencer between acid reflux and GERD? my doc isn't saying anything yet about me having GERD, only reflux due to stress and foods i eat. 

      i'll be back to him tom for further test... but my sister says i have GERD since my symptoms are worst(before)  

       

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    • Posted

      None of us likes to think we need medicine but if you are producing excess acid or that acid is getting to parts of the body (eg oesophagus) where it shouldn't, then reducing the acid is important and PPIs (eg pantoprazole) are the most effective way of doing that.

      GERD + Gastro-Esphageal Reflx Disorder/Disease. It is used to describe the condition when reflux from the stomach to the oesophagus is frequent.

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    • Posted

      yes, when my reflux attacks it goes way up to my chest and when i burp, i can taste it. sometimes i have a stuff like jelly type colored white. but since the meds, i only get low level of acid and sour taste in the mouth. but with my busy sched, i sometimes forgot the meds and try to control the acid which im starting to get a rhythm... 

      also there were those days the pain travels to my right mid back, and the acid is like something stabbed my middle lower back just behind my stomach. my doc said my symptoms are severe and he had to change my meds. 

      i hope tom's appointment will be positive, and i am open to endoscopy anytime.. smile

      thanks for the help 

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