Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Last of The Stomach Pain Saga

I had my follow up visit with the doctor about my upper GI scope earlier this week. She hadn't gotten results yet, so she had to call the pathologist while I was there. The good news is there were no signs of celiac or barrett's disease. The bad news is there were also no signs of H. pylori. That would've given us something concrete to treat. She thinks bile reflux may still be part of my problem, but the pain I'm having now is really probably just because I make too much acid.

So in the past, I've always taken pepcid (an H2 antagonist) as needed. When this really flared up, she put me on 60mg/day dexilant (a Proton Pump Inhibitor that is basically extended release prevacid). Since the drugs work different ways, she wants me to try taking a PPI and an H2 antagonist at the same time. Eventually, I'll work to wean myself off of them when things feel healed up. She says I can stick with prevacid and pepcid since that's what I've been taking in the past, or try prilosec (a PPI) or zantac (H2 antagonist). She did say I should stay away from tagament because it's harder on the liver.

It's possible I'll need some sort of PPI long term though. At the very least, she thinks it's something I will need to take periodically. That raises its own set of nutrient absorption issues, so I'll need to be careful about calcium and vitamin D intake, in particular.

I took my camera and got a picture of the pictures from the scope. Rather than post the picture directly and gross out the squeamish people, you can just click the link if you want to see:

Click Here if You're Really Interested in What My Insides Look Like

My understanding is that these pics show mild gastritis and esophagitis. Nothing horrible, but also not quite normal, considering I've been on 60mg PPIs for about 2 months now. I also received a hand written card from the nurses at the hospital addressing me by name and saying I did a great job and thanks for choosing them for my procedure...small benefit of being in an extremely small town.

I think I might like to see an actual GI doc, but there aren't any here and I'm not real sure they could do much else. I have made what I feel are reasonable diet changes (no coke, no coffee, no peppermint, very limited red meat and chocolate, cut out spicy foods, etc...), I've done the meds. I'm hoping what showed up in the scope is an improvement over what was there. I like to think it was horribly flared up and this is on the way to recovery, not on the way to getting worse. I feel like the idea that it's gallbladder related is out because I don't get the really bad pain at all when I'm on the PPI (which shouldn't help a gallbladder issue). There's also an extensive history of similar gastritis problems, so that fits. If you've dealt with something similar and have more insight or ideas on how to get healed up, let me know!


Megan said...

I have dealt with something that sounds similar. For awhile I was having attacks that were completely debilitating....the closest thing I can describe it is being in labor. I had my gallbladder checked and some other things done, but the thing that worked(s) for me is Prilosec. My doctor told me that I could actually take it every day instead of 14 days every 4 months, but I haven't had to do that yet, thankfully.

I hope you get it figured out!

The Hills said...

I'm giving the prilosec a try (3 pills a day instead of 1) b/c everyone says it's great, but I think it's not working quite as well as prevacid was. I'm gonna give it a little while longer and see if things level out. I think it's going to end up taking months, but I'm hoping to eventually cut back to just one pepcid a day for daily meds.

Megan said...

The prilosec never felt like it was working while I was actually taking it. It took a week or so after the 14 days to see any difference.


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