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Old 12 February 2013, 06:28 PM
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Icon86 Acid reflux/diverticulitis

Beginning of January I was diagnosed with acid reflux. Beginning of February, with diverticulitis. And I thought 2013 was going to be my year. I guess this is my payback for being so smug about being so healthy while family and friends all around me were falling apart.

I think the acid reflux has been in the works for quite some time, little annoying symptoms I put down to the inconvenience of getting older. I'm having a major flareup right now and haven't been to work since Friday. I'm constantly nauseated, and when I lie down I have horrible burning pain up my chest from stomach acid coming up my esophagus, so I only sleep in snatches. When I'm so exhausted I can't keep my eyes open I lie down only to be awakened a couple hours later. Rinse, repeat.

I read online about risers on the head of a bed, to elevate the upper body and so let gravity help with keeping stomach acid where it belongs. Looking at bed risers, I realize they're not going to work with my sleigh rail bed. I think a wedge under the mattress would be a better solution. I found the MediWedge and plan to buy one, but I'm torn. Medical advice suggests elevation of 6-8". The wedge comes in 4" and 6" and I probably should get the 6", but I wonder how hard it would be to get used to. On the other hand, if I get the 4" and find out it's not enough elevation I'm out the $200+ when I have to replace it with the 6".

Then there's the diarrhea. Since 2am Monday I've had soft, baby food consistency, stools that are now watery. I took Pepto Bismol 4 times in an 18-hour period. At 28 hours I took it again. My stool just keeps getting thinner instead of firming up.

I have an appt with my PCP Thursday. I'm planning to ask for a referral to a gastroenterologist, at the very least. I'm wondering, though, how long can a person safely have diarrhea?

Anyone have either of these? Any recommendations or suggestion on relieving symptoms? Horror stories?

ETA: I am on Prilosec for GERD and two different antibiotics for the diverticulitis.
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Old 12 February 2013, 06:34 PM
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I've found Prilosec OTC to be pretty good at taking care of acid reflux. It says to do 2 weeks at most and consult a doctor beyond that though. I've been on it for years though (based on my doctor's recommendation), with no side effects.

Also, you don't need to buy something expensive to raise up a bed. A couple of blocks of wood under the legs of the frame should do it. Make sure the blocks are large enough that the legs won't fall off though.
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Old 12 February 2013, 06:42 PM
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I guess I had only my OP up and was editing when you posted. My doctor prescribed Prilosec for me and with my $5 co-pay, it's cheaper than OTC.

The reason I can't use risers is because of the structure of my bed. First, there are wood rails I know elevating one end would wreak havoc on the bed. Second, my bed has feet, not legs, an extension of the head and footboard frame, resting at 2x4" on the floor. ETA: It's a beautiful bed, just a PITA right now. And, I suppose, thirdly, it's a heavy washed oak bed.
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Old 12 February 2013, 06:52 PM
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Unless the bed is pretty flimsy, elevating one end 6-8" shouldn't be too much for the frame.

I'm not sure I get the distinction that you posted. The wood frame slots into the headboard and footboard and the headboard and footboard rest on the floor? And the feet are 2 inches by 4 inches each? Is the 2 inches from side to side or head to foot?
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Old 12 February 2013, 06:56 PM
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You don't necessarily need to raise the whole bed end if you don't want to. I've managed well (albiet temporarily) with a foam wedge under just me and my pillow.

And, my sympathies. I have acid reflux that's usually not bad if I watch my diet but this weekend, I ate something wrong and woke up Monday with reflux bad enough that my ears hurt. I hope you get some good solutions
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Old 12 February 2013, 07:06 PM
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GenYus: The two inches are from side to side. I think elevating the head would cause damage to the wood from the rails slotting into the head and foot boards at an angle.

Thank you, Arriah. I'm getting ready to make myself some rice. Yummy.
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Old 12 February 2013, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagurit View Post
*snip*Then there's the diarrhea. Since 2am Monday I've had soft, baby food consistency, stools that are now watery. I took Pepto Bismol 4 times in an 18-hour period. At 28 hours I took it again. My stool just keeps getting thinner instead of firming up.

ETA: I am on Prilosec for GERD and two different antibiotics for the diverticulitis.
Have you tried Immodium for the diarrhea? And the important thing is to keep hydrated and make sure your electrolytes don't get depleted. If it's really bad you can drink Gatorade.

Yeah, GERD sucks. I have GERD and BRD (bile reflux disorder) as a complication from the gallbladder removal. Not fun.

Nexium works for me but AIUI it's like $2 a pill. The insurance company must hate me, I take it twice a day.

Rice? Are you doing BRAT?
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Old 12 February 2013, 07:46 PM
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No, just rice. I have to eat something and it's the gentlest thing I know of. You're right and Marty keeps warning me about not becoming dehydrated. I'll pull out a Gatorade.

I didn't want to take Immodium since I was already taking the pink stuff.

Why isn't the Prilosec easing the acid backup, I want to know.
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Old 12 February 2013, 07:50 PM
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You may need a higher dosage. I was on 40mg/day before I had my gall bladder out. I think a regular OTC dose is 10mg.
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Old 12 February 2013, 07:55 PM
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When do you take the Prilosec compared to when and what do you eat? Also, how long is your last meal from when you take it and when do you go to bed?

One thing that helped me was to sleep on my left side. Because your esophogus tilts to to left before going into your stomach, it makes an uphill path for the acid.

ETA: Prilosec OTC is 20.6 mg according to the package. Also, do you take the name brand or generic stuff? I tried the generic and it didn't seem to work for me.
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Old 12 February 2013, 08:17 PM
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Prilosec didn't help my reflux as well as Nexxium. You might try switching, if your insurance allows it, or if your doc is friendly with the free samples.
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Old 12 February 2013, 08:17 PM
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Diarrhea might be from the antibiotics. Wouldn't hurt to add some yogurt and probiotics to the regimen.
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Old 12 February 2013, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I've found Prilosec OTC to be pretty good at taking care of acid reflux. It says to do 2 weeks at most and consult a doctor beyond that though. I've been on it for years though (based on my doctor's recommendation), with no side effects....
I started using it a couple months ago and it was like magic for me. I know they say to only use it for a couple weeks at a time, but they sell it in packs much bigger than a two week supply. I stop for a few days every couple weeks.

As for elevating your head, I have successfully used several pillows in the past. I will sleep on 2-3 and then put another under my back to make the height change less dramatic.
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Old 12 February 2013, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettie Page Turner View Post
Diarrhea might be from the antibiotics. Wouldn't hurt to add some yogurt and probiotics to the regimen.
Yogurt might--dairy products aren't super great when you're trying to keep stomach acid under control (and that includes yogurt, unfortunately). But veggies and rice may be really helpful for the acid, and bananas may help with the rest.
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Old 12 February 2013, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadie View Post
You may need a higher dosage. I was on 40mg/day before I had my gall bladder out. I think a regular OTC dose is 10mg.
She had me on 40 for two weeks 20x2 daily, but then to 20. I think you might be right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
When do you take the Prilosec compared to when and what do you eat? Also, how long is your last meal from when you take it and when do you go to bed?
I take it in the morning and have something light 20-30 min after. I'm being careful not to eat too late.
Quote:
One thing that helped me was to sleep on my left side. Because your esophogus tilts to to left before going into your stomach, it makes an uphill path for the acid.
Yeah, I've sleeping on my left side, too. Now and then I gravitate to my right side, but turn as soon as I notice it.
Quote:
ETA: Prilosec OTC is 20.6 mg according to the package. Also, do you take the name brand or generic stuff? I tried the generic and it didn't seem to work for me.
Hmmm.. This is Omeprazole 20 mg. Maybe you're on to something.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm View Post
Prilosec didn't help my reflux as well as Nexxium. You might try switching, if your insurance allows it, or if your doc is friendly with the free samples.
No free samples as she doesn't receive them. I'll ask her about it when I see her Thursday. I've got pretty good Rx insurance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettie Page Turner View Post
Diarrhea might be from the antibiotics. Wouldn't hurt to add some yogurt and probiotics to the regimen.
Problem being, one of the antibiotics I take I can't have dairy with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Yogurt might--dairy products aren't super great when you're trying to keep stomach acid under control (and that includes yogurt, unfortunately). But veggies and rice may be really helpful for the acid, and bananas may help with the rest.
I'll try some bananas. Right now I don't feel like shopping.
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Old 12 February 2013, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagurit View Post
I take it in the morning and have something light 20-30 min after.
If otherwise medically okay, you might want to increase the amount you eat after taking it. My doctor said that it works by slowing down the acid pumps that are working at the time. If you eat something light, not many of the acid pumps start working so not as many shut down. Also, I take it right before I start eating, not 20-30 minutes. You might try that for a day or two.
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Old 12 February 2013, 09:58 PM
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You should be able to take a regular probiotic for the diarrhea, which is what you want when you eat the yogurt. Should be in the health foods isle.
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Old 12 February 2013, 10:55 PM
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Is there any rhyme or reason to this GERD? I ask because I've had GERD for years, and the flareups occur at the middle of my cycle and right before Aunt Flo comes to visit. If you take PPIs over time like I do, make sure you take a calcium supplement as well.
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Old 13 February 2013, 12:55 AM
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One last piece of advice regarding to the acid reflux: if you aren't already, try wearing clothing that's loose across your middle- wearing tight pants or a tight belt can force your diaphragm up and increase pressure on your stomach, forcing more acid up your throat.

And my condolences, I had really bad acid reflux a few years ago and I'm still prone to it if I eat certain foods- mostly pizza with pepperoni or sausage.

Oh, BTW, lamb is supposed to be much easier to digest than other meats, though it sounds like you've got plenty of info on what to eat already.
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Old 13 February 2013, 01:35 AM
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I would say, stop the Pepto because it's not doing much, try the Immodium, get the doc's approval to go back to 40, and if that doesn't work talk about switching to Nexium. And yes, up your calcium if you do. I actually had a bone density scan to make sure things were kosher and to get a baseline because I've been on Nexium for years.
Interesting thing, generics only have to be 75-80% as effective as the original drug. When generic Celexa was introduced, a few weeks later there was a rash of problems in the Anxiety disorders clinic. I gained 30 pounds I had worked like hell to lose. Twice I gained 6 pounds in a week without changing my diet. I now have the generic listed as an allergy in case I ever need to go on it again.

The only thing that has helped me other than the Nexium and avoiding spicy foods is losing weight. It truly does help if you have a weight issue. Even 5 or 10% can help a lot.

If you try probiotics, make sure you get a good one. The best is BioK+. The most common one is milk based but there is a rice based one and there are pills, too. If you don't use that make sure you get something with at least 25 billion per pill. That comes from my gastroenterologist himself. The one I got is 50 billion, but as soon as I make it to apparently the only store still selling it that's switching to BioK+. I have taken it before and it is good.

The thing with BioK+ is that the two strains are complementary. In something with 10 strains you can't be sure some aren't just going to eat one of the others. The person who told me this has given me advice before and was telling me not to buy the stuff on sale in her store and go buy BioK+ which she doesn't sell so I think she may be right. BioK+ has always worked for me.

ETA: Oh, and as far as loose clothing, two words: yoga pants.
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