GERD, Acid Reflux, H Pylori, and how it changed my life
I was fortunate enough to grow up without any major health issues. It wasn’t until my mid 30’s that I actually had to go to a hospital and get diagnosed. I knew something was off when I kept getting indigestion, breathing issues, and migraines, but it wasn’t until I went to the Emergency Room that I found out I suffer from Chronic Migraines and GERD. GERD? I had no idea there was such a thing.
It turns out GERD which stands for Gastroesophageal reflux disease, and acid reflux is actually pretty common. Bad news? Not always a easy fix for everyone. There are people who get acid reflux and heartburn like once a year a even once a month. I fight with it daily, for over a year now. I’ve tried medication, diet changes, and lifestyle changes. Some things seem to help, but nothing seems to fully get rid of it. After my first trip to the ER, I quit smoking (Analogs and Vape), drinking, and cut down on coffee (went from 3 large cups a day, to 1 cup of very light cold brew).
H Pylori – Helicobacter pylori
My doctor became as puzzled as I was when I kept going back to him. From Pepcid, Ranitidine, Prednisone, and Omeprazole, I still couldn’t digest any regular foods. I was eating mainly soup, and even that I had to drink sparkling water and/or hot water to digest. As someone who loves food, it was harder not being able to eat the foods I love (Meat, pizza, spaghetti, wings etc) than it was to quit smoking and drinking. My doctor had me take a breath test and BAM! I tested positive for H Pylori. Why was I so happy? Because now that we know what I have, we can fix it and move on…..right? Wrong…I got treated for H Pylori, it fixed my digestion issues somewhat, but my other symptoms for GERD and some indigestion is still present.
The treatment for H Pylori, was not fun at all. I had to take some strong doses of Amoxicillin, Omeprazole, Clarithromycin, twice a day for 14 days. This also known as the triple therapy. There are variations of the H Pylori triple therapy, but this is the one my doc had me on. I was in so much pain after the second day, not to mention I was in the bathroom all day. I heard that some people give up on the triple therapy before they are finished. For me, I was so eager to start eating regular foods again, I didn’t give up. A few pointers for people who need to go on the triple therapy, Probiotics. I started taking probiotics (From Atomy) when I first started getting sick, but my doc recommended that I take my probiotics twice a day instead of once, because the triple therapy kills all the good bacteria in my stomach. That along with Imodium and Pepto Bismol helped me through my 14 day triple therapy. Again I successfully got rid of H Pylori, but I dont think I felt better for months.
Atomy Probiotics – I took 2 of these a day during my triple therapy. I still take 1 a day regularly
How did I get GERD?
I am not a doctor, so I cannot say exactly how I got GERD, however I have a few ideas.
Lifestyle – As I mentioned earlier, I grew up without any medical issues, so I guess you can say I never thought I would ever get sick. So I never really took care of myself before. I used to smoke about a pack a day…..2 packs if I go drink that night. I ate out 80% of the time. Most of the time it was either fast food, or korean bbq. I had bad drinking habits. I would normally drink until I pass out or vomit. Whichever came first. If I didn’t pass out or vomit after I was done drinking, I would eat again so that I can sleep through the night. I never really worked out until now either. I know….horrible.
Triglycerides – I was getting an additional life insurance policy on myself and they made me take a blood test. They were actually hesitant about my triglyceride levels. The way they explained it to me, 200 is considered high when it comes to Triglycerides. Mine came out to 720, and I was at risk of a stroke. This is when I first started making changes in my life. Of all the things I tried and changes I made in my life, one thing that helped was drinking homemade fruit juice every morning, that mainly consisted of tomatoes. I think the tomatoes played a big role in lowering my triglycerides, however, I don’t think it had a positive effect on me getting GERD.
Home cooked meals – So as I mentioned before, I never really took care of myself before and I guess you can say it started to catch up with me. I know not all restaurant food is bad for you ( I still eat out, just not as much as I used to ). I eat a lot more greens like kale and spinach. I am very keen on low sodium, natural, no high fructose corn syrup. 2% Milk seems to be a lot better for me than whole milk. I try to eat lean meats, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. Chicken breasts, avocados, fat-free sherbet, sugar free gum seems to do wonders also. I will make a separate post with more detail about what worked for me for my diet.
It was actually kind of funny when my doctor now told me “Your triglycerides are high, you are at 230!”. I told him, before I moved here, I was at 720, then my doc giggled and said “Ahhhh ok ok”.
My life now
I am not sure if my GERD has anything to do with my chronic migraines, and my dizziness, and my sensitivity to cold or hot weather. Did it change my life? You bet it did. But I’m still here. I did have to make a lot of adjustments in my life. I even carry a small back pack with me at all times now with medication, snacks just in case I run out of energy, tums, aspirin, etc….I carry a face mask with me, which seems to help when cold air (Natural or AC) affects my breathing…..Sunglasses for when I suddenly become sensitive to light……..but again I’m still here. Do I hope that one day I will be cured? Of course! But until then, I will continue to find ways to deal with it.
I stretch for about 10 minutes and try to ride my cycle for 30 minutes a day every day. Side note – Congrats to Sung Hyun Park, who won the KPMG LPGA Championship today. Was a 3 way tie with So Yeon Ryu, and Nasa Hataoka, but came out on top to take $547,000. I myself am a huge Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods fan….and eagerly wait to see them on top again!
I normally eat a small bowl of cereal or a sandwich when I wake up. After my morning coffee, and quiet time, I hop on my cycle. After that I make a smoothie that consists of apples, bananas, a little honey, milk, and water.