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Acid Reflux / GERD Message Board

Acid Reflux / GERD Board Index

First, I'm sorry if all of this has been covered in other posts.

For 12 years I've just taken what doctors tell me to. Five weeks ago I looked up the long term side effects of PPI's because of issues I've had for a long time and they matched. Doctors had always blamed the problems on my hypothyroidism. I quit prilosec immediately and started taking some herbal supplements, rolaids and maalox.

Please bear with me if this is really silly. If GERD is caused by a sphincter not working right, and PPI's just lower the amount of acid produced, doesn't that mean there is still acid "leaking"? The acid is just diluted or weak enough not to cause immediate symptoms but would still cause long term damage, just slower?

The reason I'm so concerned is because what started out as pretty mild but frequent heartburn became a lot worse after a decade of treatment, starting with pepcid, then switching between nexium and prilosec. The last 2-3 years I started waking up choking on acid sometimes (really scary and painful). It got worse so slowly and I was taking doctor prescribed meds, so I never really thought about how much worse it got or why. Now I'm furious (mostly at myself) and freaking out.

Since I quit, I haven't woken up once choking...EXCEPT the one day I forgot and took a prilosec out of habit. That was two weeks in. I Really shouldn't have left them on the "meds shelf". The first week after I quit, I took A LOT of rolaids and maalox. Since then it's evened out and now the worst heartburn I get is about a 3 on my scale (1-10) and it goes away with one rolaid or some maalox. It's also happening less frequently. In blindly following doctors orders, did I just put myself through twelve years of misery?

I've been taking : Ginger Root, Licorice Root, Ceylon Cinnamon, Turmeric and one yogurt every day. The cinnamon and turmeric are for my hubby, but I figured it couldn't hurt to try those too and they seem to be helping.

The side effects I had : aches and pains, frequent headaches, always diarrhea or constipation, brain fog and generally feeling 'blech'. All have improved considerably in the last five weeks.

Sorry for the long post, I'm at a loss as to why it got so much worse over years but got so much better in a few weeks off the prilosec (a very good thing, just confused). Also wanted to share in case it might help someone else.
What I said is that things slowly got worse over 12 years, not a month or two. I should have worded my question about "12 years of misery" differently. My apologies for not being as clear as I could have been. I was trying not to write a novel.

Pepcid was great for almost two years, after it stopped working so well, nexium/prilosec seemed great. If I accidentally forgot a day, I paid for it dearly. Therefore I had every reason to believe it was a huge help. I was told to take an OTC relief med (rolaids, tums etc.) when I had heartburn. I was also told by two doctors that they were sure the choking and increasing bouts of heartburn were asthma related. Despite the fact I wasn't wheezing any of the times I've woken up choking (I've never had an asthma attack disappear without an inhaler) and I've rarely been wheezing when the heartburn flared up. I started taking an asthma controller because of this (3 years ago) but it hasn't made any difference at all with my GERD (or my asthma for that matter). I had severe asthma as a child but it's been mild and hasn't gotten any worse for over twenty years now.

I quit prilosec because of the side effects, not because I just decided one day it was making my stomach problems worse. I was so fed up always feeling bad and thinking I had to put up with it because my thyroid doesn't work well despite proper medication. I tried all sorts of things that didn't help much (with the aches, headaches etc.) I finally checked the side effects of my meds in more detail. Prilosec matched so exactly that I quit taking it immediately.

The first week was awful, REALLY awful - but I wasn't waking up choking, so I decided I needed to keep at it for a few weeks to really give my stomach a chance to acclimate and give the herbal stuff a shot. I'm very glad I did. When things started getting better is what prompted me to really sat down and think about the last 12 years. From very frequent but mild heartburn (in retrospect, it didn't seem very mild and annoying at the time) to waking up choking and having to take OTC meds to supplement the PPI - to me that is significantly worse and valid cause to be very concerned.

I still watch what I eat/drink and I take maalox and rolaids when needed. I am taking them less and less, but I'm not expecting to stop taking them entirely. I don't think I've found some magical cure. I just found a functional solution that works for me and there has been a big improvement with feeling nasty all the time. Because the side effects were having a very negative impact on my life, for several years, that is a huge victory to me. I had questions, I was (and still am) very concerned and I thought it would be nice to share what is working for me just in case it might work for someone else.

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