Back in 1999 I went to the family doctor because of a cold and checked off on the symptom sheet that I experience heartburn. I had experienced heartburn on and off every since I was a teen. The doctor felt that I needed to go have a barium swallow test done and that revealed that I had quite a bit of reflux going on. As a result he put me on Prilosec once a day. Knowing what I know now I wished I would have never checked that box off on the sheet!
Over the past 15 years I’ve been on just about every brand/form of PPI drug and the dosage has also fluctuated. Some worked, some didn’t and some stopped working over time. While on the PPIs I don’t experience heartburn, but I do experience a lot of upper throat issues…mainly irritation and burping. Most recently back in December 2013 I started having trouble swallowing. It felt like food that I swallowed would not go very far past my upper throat after swallowing. I’d have to drink something with each bite. I never had food or water come back up, but you could definitely tell that the food was not going down as normal. Pryor to that I had started having night time reflux which never caused heartburn symptoms, just mainly throat issues. My doctor had me do a barium swallow with tablet which came back fine. He wanted to go ahead an do an EGD with dilation to see about sorting the issue out.
I’ve had 5-6 EGDs done over the years and they always have shown no sign of Barrets and that everything looked fine with the exception of polyps here and there that were removed. I’ve even had the EGD done with the PH monitor twice.
So in January of this year I went in for the EGD with dilation and the doctor said I had a mild stricture and he dilated it out to the maximum amount that he could. It took about 3 weeks before I felt any relief and that only lasted a couple of weeks before I started back in with the sensation that food was being stuck in my upper throat area. I went back to him and he had me do a modified barium swallow test with a speech pathologist. She watched my swallowing mechanism and said that it all functioned beautifully.
So I go back to the GI doctor and he tells me that he doesn’t think that I could have another stricture only 2 months after the dilation. He ended up referring me to an ENT to see if they could help at all.
I visited an ENT and after describing it all to him he said it definitely sounded reflux related and his recommendation was to double my Prevacid dosage each day and stay away from trigger foods. He said it can take up to 6 weeks for someone with symptoms like mine to see any relief from the upped dosage of Prevacid. Another suggestion was to have some procedure done where they cut the muscle in the upper esophagus that closes off when you swallow. He said that sometimes that muscle will spasm and stay shut when it should be opening. This can cause food to get stuck in the upper throat. I didn’t really like the idea of cutting anything and I wasn’t sure that taking more PPIs would help either.
I’ve pretty much tried everything over the years that people recommend….eat vegan, take enzymes, DGL, sleep on a wedge pillow, no eating/drinking 4 hours before bed, etc. and haven’t found much relief. I have a tendency to think about health issues way too much and I know that stress plays a big part in how this stuff goes.
I also end up having heart palpitations when things in my throat are really irritated. Other health issues include ongoing foliculitus which I’ve battled for just about the same period of time as reflux and I’ve had a few panic attacks over the years. I’m a 43 year old male and I’m not over weight at all, but I don’t exercise regularly either. I pretty much sit at a desk all day long staring at a computer. I’ve got a wife and three younger children and I commute 30 miles each way to work every day.
I can’t help but think that many of these symptoms and issues that I have are related to taking these stupid drugs for so long. I have concern for what they may be doing to my body and at the same time I’m concerned about the condition of my throat. When I’ve tried to ween off of them I do start getting the classic heartburn symptoms after 3-4 days of trying.
Once you’ve dealt with this as long as I have and tried so many things, it has a tendency of just becoming a complicated mess in your mind and it’s difficult to know what to do anymore.
Was hoping someone with a similar experience as mine might have some input on getting off of PPIs or how the FTD has changed their lives.