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Acid Reflux / GERD Message Board

Acid Reflux / GERD Board Index


It sounds like you have plenty of experience with Acid Reflux. I wish I had some constructive advice, but I really don't know what to do in your situation. My thougts are:

-Would an antibiotic really work? Has it worked before? Do you know if you had a bacterial infection before? Have you had chest x-rays? Most colds aren't caused by bacteria, but preumonia is frequently caused by bacteria, and taking any PPI increased your risk of developing pneumonia, especially if your immune system has been stressed.

-Go gently on the congestion/cold supplies. I personally struggle with this greatly, because my colds, always turn into bronchitis and this goes far back before I developed reflux. A 10 day cold easily becomes a 6 week nightmare, at least 2x a year. I've learned to manage my colds by hitting them as soon as they come on with a combination of advil and a decongestent - this reduceds the symptoms, and prevents the "pussing out" effect of the mucus in my lungs. I can even avert bronchitis this way. But since getting Acid Reflux over 3 years ago, the OTC cold rememdies/decongestents that I used to take KILL my stomach now. No more Dayquil/Nyquil for me - I'm now on a plain generic decongestent, without the frills. Even this isn't great for my stomach, but it's a lot more gentle than the dayquil/nyquil route. I also still take the Advil to reduce inflammation.

-Though it sounds to me like your chest congestion and cough is acid-related, another possibility (albeit a much weaker possibility) is that you have some kind of fungal infection in your lungs. Several fungal infections that are fairly common in the U.S. turn opportunistic in patients with compromised immune systems - so people who seem otherwise healthy can be affected. I'm thinking primarily about Coccidioidomycosis (San Joaquin Valley Fever). You get this by inhaling spores into the lungs, and while most people dont' develop any real signs of infection, 1% of patients develop symptoms that are simliar to Tuberculosis. While you probably don't have this, I just thought I'd bring it up because it's mostly a regional problem as the fungus is found in the soils of the U.S Southwest. My best friend was a recovering anorexic (but still too skinny), took a business trip to Arizona, and developed this infection after her return to NYC. The fungus took hold because her system was so run down by the anorexia. It took a really long time for her to get a diagnosis. I'm not a health professional - just an interested student of microbiology.

-I agree with ADGRANT that perhaps you need to find a new PPI. I strongly recommend Nexium at the 2x per day level. (I sometimes take it 4 times per day if it's really bad). My LPR doctor (affiliated with Yale University School of Medicine) swears by 2 doses of Nexium a day for her LPR patients. She says it is better metabolized by most people. But with your family history, it sounds like there is a predisposition to severe acid reflux and that you have an uphill battle ahead of you. Were the fundos successful in your relatives?

-As far as putting you on Xanax for anxiety, I highly recommend against this. First, Xanax is a muscle relaxer (more so than Advil) and can contribute to further weakening of the esophageal spinchter muscles. It is also highly highly addictive at very low levels. Before I was diagnosed, I spent 6 months in a sheer hell searching for a diagnosis and was put on Xanax. Though I absolutely did not "abuse" the drug in any way and followed my doctor's strict dosage schedule, I nonetheless developed a physical dependence on the drug after 1 month. My reflux also steadily worsened during this time. After getting the reflux diagnosis, I had to detox off the Xanax - and let me tell you, I was so ready and happy to give that drug the kiss-off, but I went into withdrawl symptoms every time I tried to even lower the dose - and I was - get this - only taking 1 mg, 3 times a day. Physiological dependency can exist separate from a predisposition to addiction. Once I was detoxed from this drug, I never had any desire to use it again. Of course, the fact that my acid reflux was now under treatment eliminated the anxiety. So anyway, if you must take it, do not use it round the clock, and try not to use it for more than a few days in a row.

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