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Hi all! Just wanted to start by saying this forum has been incredibly interesting and helpful to me over the past couple months, so I finally decided to join and make this intro post to tell you my story and ask for your advice and encouragement. Sorry if it gets long, but without further ado...
I'm a 39 year old male in the US. Fairly fit and active: 6'1", 200 lbs, play sports and been lifting weights and doing light cardio a couple times/week for many years. Around the holidays I started coughing...and it wouldn't go away. Figured I had a cold or the flu that was going around. I've always had sinus and mucus issues -- have woken up blowing my nose, clearing my throat, and spitting like crazy every day since I was a teenager -- but it was worse than usual. After about 5 weeks of that, I started Googling and saw that reflux is the #1 cause of unexplained cough. I thought that was interesting, as about 6 months prior my dentist had told me she was sure I had reflux since she could see the damage on my back teeth. I told her I'd never had heartburn in my life, so I was pretty sure it must be something else. Now, putting 2+2 together, plus a bit more reading online, I was pretty sure I had LPR. Around that time, I started having mild stomach and chest discomfort, so I took Maalox for the first time in my life. It pretty much did nothing. I was sure I had reflux. Wanting to rule out throat nodules and the like, I went to an ENT and got a laryngoscope (?). He said things looked normal, but that my symptoms fit LPR to a "T." He suggested I start omeprazole (?) 20mg, 2/day as that's his standard course of treatment. I told him I'd read a lot about the side effects of PPIs and was very hesitant to start them, so he suggested ranitidine 150 mg, 2/day, at least for a while to help the throat heal. He also suggested I buy a wedge pillow to stick under my mattress.
I stuck to a diet and lifestyle changes religiously for a little over two weeks. My cough disappeared in 3 days, and I was definitely producing less mucus. I also woke up less congested in the mornings. My problem was that while some things were improving, I felt other things getting worse. For the first time in my life I started consistently noticing traditional reflux symptoms like stomach upset, nausea, and that burning feeling my upper chest and lower throat. I also had a few "gut attacks, as I call them. Burning and severe discomfort in my stomach or intestines. I started keeping a food log on 2/21 (so about two weeks ago), but I can't make sense of what brings on symptoms and what doesn't. I'm fairly sure beans and peas are bad, as two of my worst episodes were after eating some homemade chicken soup with those ingredients. But it seems so random.
So like many of you, I've started digging deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole that is the internet, and I've seen so many diets and theories that it'll make one's head spin! Fast Tract, low-carb and SCD...how can a person figure this thing out?! Some say things like yogurt are bad because of the pH and sugars, others say yogurt is great because of the probiotics. Some say fat is bad because it takes too long to digest. Others say fat is great because it actually speeks up digestion!
About a week ago I ordered all the supplements one reads about online, and have been taking those. DGL, digestive enzymes, mastic gum, probiotics, and Gaviscon Advance (from the UK). A few days ago, I decided to cut out dairy and gluten from my diet and try that for a couple weeks as I guess it couldn't hurt. But even on this extremely boring diet, I still get major symptoms a couple times a day...and for the past few days, after pretty much every meal. I've also started burping like crazy. I mean, pretty much every time I stand up, and certainly after I eat or drink anything. I'm pretty frustrated. I'm mainly a very positive and healthy person. I have a strong faith in God and Jesus Christ, and I have a supportive family and a good, low-stress job. So for the most part I'm fine. But there are sure times I just get frustrated or want to cry because I have no idea what's going on in my body. I'm not sure what my next steps are. I'm considering seeing another doc and asking for a full range of tests: endoscopy, H Pylori, candida, food allergies, etc. just to try to understand a bit more. Not sure what it'll do, but again, I guess I'm assuming none of that can hurt...
Sorry that was so long, but it felt good to type it all out. Thanks for posting here, everyone...and I wish you all luck today and in coming days!
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