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I want to share my story in case it may help someone else.
I suffered from chronic upper right quadrant pain for almost 3 years. Alcohol was thought to be the original cause of the pain. I drank primarily on weekend evenings 4 to 8 beers a night. When flared up the pain would last about 1 - 2 weeks. Things got to the point where I tried quitting drinking for a year and on my birthday 3 beers flared my symptoms for almost 2 weeks.
Testing and Dx:
It took the VA the better part of two years to finally run all the tests but ultimately I ended up having an MRI with contrast, ultrasound, blood work to check pancreatic enzymes liver function and for H pylori, colonoscopy, and finally an upper endoscopy. The tests left me with a mild gastritis Dx. It took 2.5 years to finally get the upper endoscopy and a solid Dx. This was after I was already caffeine and alcohol free for quite some time and had already taken the PPI for a number of months. I can only imagine how bad things must have been back when it was really flared up.
The VA doctor’s advice:
In short, I was told I had extensive testing and everything was okay. The doctor went on to say my gastritis is not acid related and I can go back to eating a normal diet. He prescribed me a pain medicine, amitriptyline, and diagnosed me with chronic pain.
First off I did not take the amitriptyline.
I reset my entire diet in hopes to figure out what was aggravating my symptoms. I researched everything I was eating down to the spices or lack of spices. I ate the same thing every day without cheating. I finally figured out my symptoms would get worse during the week and better on the weekend. At first I thought it was stress, than it occurred to me I was chewing a lot more sugar free gum during the week. I’ve been chewing the same brand, 5 gum, for a number of years now. In 2011 I started a new career which requires a lot more human interaction and I wanted to ensure my breath didn’t smell.
Prior to doing this I had tried a PPI Rx, omeprazole, for a number of months, cutting from my diet caffeine, carbonated beverages spices, and alcohol for over a year. I even started sleeping on my left side. All of these things yielded an improvement in symptoms but the pain would still return. I was also taking every gut friendly supplement and vitamin I could find. I even tried drinking regiments of cabbage and aloe vera juices.
Once I removed the sugar free gum, continued my vitamins/supplements, and low acidic diet it took roughly 2 weeks for things to heal up. This past Friday and Sat I was able to eat whatever I wanted, drink a 6 pack of beer each night and a pot of coffee the next morning with 0 discomfort!
My diet regiment:
Breakfast- Special K Fruit and Yogurt cereal mixed with Quaker Simply granola oats and honey with almond milk
Lunch- a large blended drink of Kale, carrots, blueberries, and a thumb sized piece of ginger (tastes like s**t but makes the stomach feel good), some Kefir
Dinner- string beans, boneless skinless chicken, rice, with turmeric and coconut oil
Snacks- yogurt, bananas, granola, kefir
Water intake was about 50/50 tap water and bottled alkaline water 9+
multi vitamin, DGL Licorice extract, Methyl B-12, Beta Carotene, PepZinGI Zinc Carnosine, Marshmallow, Slippery Elm bark, Mastic Gum
Sugar alcohols are in lots of other products besides sugar free gums so take a look at everything you're consuming.
I am in no way qualified to give medical advice. Do your own research and ask your doctor before changing your diet and/or taking supplements. This is simply my story the best I can remember it and what worked for me.
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