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I have read with great interest many posts over the past couple of months with regards to LPR / Silent Reflux and I hope you don't mind me sharing my story. Even if nobody responds or reads this post at the very least, for me personally, writing this has been very therapeutic.
My story begins around early December 2017. It was actually my wife that pointed out to me that I was constantly clearing my throat. At first I thought it was just a sore throat and as such started taking the usual cough sweets, throat spray etc but it didn't seem to go away and indeed it started to get a bit worse. Constant clearing of my throat and also a strain like pain in my throat whenever I was talking. Eventually after Christmas I decided to go and see the GP who examined my throat etc. She said it looked a bit inflamed. She also did some blood tests and asked me to come back in a week for the results. At this stage she said it sounds like reflux but let's wait for the results.
I went back to see here a week later and the blood test was fine apart from the liver result which was higher than normal. She then asked about my drinking and I said that I drank a couple of glasses of red wine in the evening after work. That confirmed it for her. She said, in her opinion, it was acid reflux and the drinking was partly to blame. She gave me some omeprazole, 20g, to be taken 1 per day, and told me to cut back on the alcohol. I actually gave up completely and to begin with the symptoms seemed to disappear. I hadn't changed my diet at all at this stage. I finished the 28 day course of omeprazole and carried on as before minus alcohol.
This brings me up to early April when I decided to go back to see the GP. My throat was really painful when I spoke and the throat clearing was back with a vengeance. It was really affecting my work as i need to speak quite a bit to clients. I saw a different GP this time and he also said it was reflux but let's do a stool test just to make sure there is no infection in the stomach. That came back clear. He said no need to see a specialist. Take some more omeprazole and change your diet. It was at this stage, frustrated with the advice and guidance I was getting from my GP, I decided to do my own research. I did what I'm sure all of you have done and googled the symptoms. Whoa!! Pretty scary what you find however I came across LPR and I thought that sounded exactly what I had. I read everything I could find on LPR and the general consensus seemed to be that a change in diet was absolutely essential. I found a good book online (Acid Watchers Diet) and decided to follow the eating plan. This was a massive change for me. It seemed as though just about everything I liked eating and drinking had to go. I started this diet on the 8th May 2018 and have now been on it for just over a month. The other thing that I read was that the most effective way to treat LPR was to suppress the acid as well as changing the diet therefore I have combined this with taking omeprazole for the last month. For sure there have been improvements. The throat clearing has almost gone and the pain when I speak, although still there, is not as bad and not there all the time. I feel as though it's moving in the right direction albeit very slowly. I do have some discomfort in my left ear. In fact the pain in my throat is on the left had side as well. I went back to see my GP last week as planned and she seemed pleased with progress. She did say it can take a while for the esophagus to heal. How long she didn't say. She has also suggested I see an ENT specialist just to be absolutely sure. That I am doing this week.
So here is what I have learnt over the last 6 months, in no particular order:-
- GP's are not experts on this. They seem to be quite happy to prescribe some PPI's and then send you on your way.
- There is so much conflicting information on the web. Eat this, don't eat this or eat that, no don't eat that. It was driving me crazy to an extent where I have basically stuck to some core foods over the past few weeks.
- The Acid Watcher Diet does seem to have benefited me. I have been eating a lot healthier. Plenty of fruit (non acidic of course), veg, lean meat and only drinking water. That's probably been the hardest part. No tea or coffee. I've also lost weight through a combination of no alcohol over last few months and the low acid diet over last month.
- These forums are excellent. Hearing from others with similar symptoms just gives you some comfort that you are not alone. I know everyone is busy but it would be great if people posted updates more often. One thing I noticed when reading one of the forum posts was that there was an initial steady stream of 'conversation' which then seemed to suddenly stop.
- Everyone is different. What works for one person might not necessarily work for someone else. For example PPI's can work for some people and for others it can make the symptoms worse. Taking certain foods works for some and not for others.
- There definitely seems to be varying levels of suffering with LPR. Reading some of the stories on the forums makes me think my symptoms, although annoying and depressing for me, are not nearly as bad as other people. My heart goes out to everyone suffering with this.
- I haven't read anywhere online where someone has said they are completely cured. Hopefully there is and I've just missed it.
- I couldn't find anything online to advise on how long the esophagus takes to heal.
- I tried Gaviscon Advance and it didn't work for me.
- My symptoms seemed to get a bit worse whenever I had some wholemeal bread or even wholemeal pasta. My GP now wants to do another blood test to rule out wheat intolerance.
- This is a global problem. I live in the UK however have read many, many posts from fellow sufferers in the US and beyond.
- LPR is horrible and I want all of us to be rid of this awful affliction NOW!!
I'm sure there are many more learnings and I could probably ramble on here all day however I better do some work. I am going to keep this post / blog whatever you want to call it updated as much as I can. If it helps even 1 person then it will be worth it.
Would be great to hear from other people. Please feel free to post or ask any questions. If I can help in any way I am happy to do so.
Best wishes to all
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