Cheerful pickl 2007-08-11 03:56:24
I have some observations on GERD.
I have to endure the symptoms of GERD (mostly chest pain) between ten to
fifteen hours a day seven days a week. In the nearly two years I have
suffered from GERD, I have encountered so many wives’ tales and urban
legends about GERD (that never work) that I almost instinctively react
whenever I hear of anyone (even a physician) who thinks he has either a
cure or a treatment.
Here are some of the urban legends and wives’ tales I have encountered.
From experience, I can say that NONE of them work.
1. Urban legend: Stick with bland and deadbeat food, while avoiding spicy
and flavored food. Fact: neither the duration or intensity of the chest
pain seems amenable to diet.
2. Urban legend: Eating smaller meals more frequently (six small meals a
day instead of two big meals a day) controls GERD symptoms. Fact: It
makes no difference.
3. Urban legend: Avoiding midnight snacks will quiet GERD. Fact: it
makes no difference.
4. Urban legend: Hydrochloric acid pills will diminish the chest pains.
(This one, told me by an RN seemed so totally counterintuitive to me that I
figured it would be worth a gamble). Fact: this one is, in fact, as
ridiculous as it sounds.
5. Urban legend: inexpensive prescription strength ranitidine or pepsid
(or doubling up on nonprescription strength versions of the same) helps.
Truth: they make no difference.
6. Urban legend: grossly overpriced modern pharmaceuticals such as
Protonix or Nexium not only stop GERD symptoms but reverse the damage.
Truth: if only this one were true. The only people who benefit from this
one I suspect are the ripoff artists who run the pharmaceutical houses that
pretend that overpriced medicines are beneficial.
I could go on, but I think you get the point.
There is one other story I have heard. “Fundoplication works.” After all
the bogus stories out there, could this one be the one that might possibly
be true? I need some real convincing. Also, I have heard horror stories
about people having trouble eating after surgery (especially raw or lightly
blanched vegetables). Yuck.
Before trying anything as radical as fundoplication, does anyone KNOW of
anything that REALLY does WORK on GERD??? I’m getting quite discouraged.
The Cheerful Pickle
Richard kaszet 2007-08-11 03:56:38
Like most medications, different people respond differently. For me,
Nexium works quite well, Prilosec kinda worked, Prevacid didn’t work,
and Ranitidine and Pepcid barely worked (just took the edge off of
it), whereas I know of many people with completely different
reactions. The “Truth” is more complicated than you make it.
Start with checking the medical literature:
Anvari M, Allen C.
Five-year comprehensive outcomes evaluation in 181 patients after
laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication.
J Am Coll Surg. 2003 Jan;196(1):51-7.
In short, most of the recent studies have shown a fairly high success
rate (but note also that in this study 12% of the patients experiences
at least some recurrence).
I did, but for most patiences the trouble with swallowing is
temporary. I had it for 3 weeks or so, and then was fine.
Also discuss other procedures with your GI specialist, such as the
polymer rings, Stretta, etc.
Richard W Kaszeta
Tim j. 2007-08-11 03:56:40
Been there, done that, got the tee shirt and the six scars to go with
it. After enduring upwards of 150-200 reflux episodes per day, every
day, I tried all the purple pills. Had one GI tell me to place bricks
under the head of my bed. First, it won’t work. I have a waterbed.
Second, when I lie down, my symptoms immediately went away. He tells
me this cannot be so. So he sends me to the hospitial’s nuclear
medicine lab to drink some radioactive orange juice (OJ always made my
GERD flare up, both the drink and the murderer) so they can watch the
radioactive agent come up my esophagus.
But, the protocol of the test calls for the patient to be laying down
during the test. I told the nurse it wouldn’t show anything, and to
call the doctor and request that I do the test sitting up. She
called, and he said to do the test laying down and if it didn’t show
anything, we would do it again. Well, true to my predictions, nothing
showed up. I went in a week later, had the same test done sitting up,
and they got about 60 shots of the reflux within about 15 minutes. A
month later I get two hospital bills. One I paid, the other I had
sent to the GI to pay. At my next appointment with him, I fired him
and found another GI. I still put off the surgery for about a year,
trying the newer medications, diet restrictions, etc. again. Finally,
I relented and had the fundoplication.
My only regret about the surgery is that I didn’t have it done sooner.
Since my surgery in April 1999, I have had ZERO reflux episodes.
None. Nada. Zilch. Sometimes I have a little bit of difficulty
swallowing, but I was having that anyways because my esophagus stayed
so inflamed. And now, most of the time it’s my own fault for taking
too big of a bite and/or not chewing enough. But I’ll take that over
the reflux any day.
Cheerful pickl 2007-08-11 03:56:43
Now that was encouraging. Though I am not sure what you mean by 150 reflux
episodes per day, I do appreciate what you said. For me. I basically get
one episode of chest pain a day, lasting between 10 to 15 hours.
The Cheerful Pickle
Mbmays@aol.com 2007-08-11 03:56:46
Andy…I feel your pain!
It sounds like you have this all day and every day. I would try that
Stretta procedure if it is this severe and you fear the surgery.
Howard would have to verify this, but it seems like if you were one of
the 20% that didn’t get help with the STretta, you could still go for
the fundo?? Hang in there … this condition sucks totally! The only
thing that works for me at all is just eating tiny bits at a time and
not eating at supper time or after. Otherwise, I am sleeping while
sitting up. I feel like God has a sense of humor giving me this
condition when I am totally in love with food…cooking, eating and
reading about food. Not anymore. The good news is…I am losing lots
of weight and my gastro swears that could easily be the cureall for
me. I have lost 18 pounds and am gonna try to go another 20. The way
I have to eat for relief, it shouldn’t be hard.
Take care Andy and hang in there.
Tim j. 2007-08-11 03:56:48
Let’s say I was outside doing yard work, and had to bend over to pick
something up. I would have a raging, burning feeling (you know the
feeling) come up through my esophagus until I stood upright. Stress
would also cause it to happen. While your episodes appear to last
hours, mine would last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes each.
I just had a bunch of them a day. I learned quickly to lie down when
an episode would occur, and it would immediately go away. If I was
not in a position to lie down at will, my episodes probably would have
lasted hours, like yours.