I had never heard of GERD before my doctor told me I had it, and I didn't really know anything about acid reflux. The doctor prescribed omeprazole (Prilosec), one of many medications called proton-pump inhibitors that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. Prilosec works great for some people, but in my case it only reduced the acid reflux, it didn't stop it completely. I had less pain, but I still had acid refluxit was still unpleasant.
What's scarier than daily pain? No coffee
Even worse was the doctor's next recommendationhe told me I could have two servings of caffeine a day, at most. That was a shocker: I wanted to say to him, "I already don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, and now I can't have my coffee?" I work in public relations, a high-pressure job with long hourshow was I supposed to function without coffee? But somehow I got in the habit of having only two cups of coffee a day, as opposed to five or six servings of caffeine. I gave up Indian food too. Luckily, I didn't have GERD to the point that I couldn't sleep at night. And if I had acid reflux at work, as impolite as this sounds, I was able to turn away for a few minutes, swallow, and get myself back under control. Some people are constantly vomiting; I was lucky my GERD wasn't that bad.
Since the heartburn medication wasn't completely curing my acid reflux, my doctor performed endoscopiesa procedure in which a lighted scope is used to examine the stomacha couple of times over the years. Untreated GERD can cause damage to the esophagus, which over time might lead to esophageal cancer. Luckily, he didn't find much damage.
Because there wasn't a lot of damage, my doctor said he was hesitant to perform surgery to correct the GERD. In addition, GERD surgery doesn't always work that well. He said it could be used to tighten the valve that connects the stomach to the esophagus, but said I didn't really need it.
As the extra pounds disappeared, so did GERD
I switched from Prilosec to Nexium when my insurance changed. I tried the over-the-counter Prilosec, but that wasn't as effective.
I was resigned to the fact that I just had to live with my less painfulbut still presentacid reflux. Then I decided to join Jenny Craig in December of 2008.
I cut down from 1,700 calories to 1,500 calories a day, and then to 1,200 calories a day. I lost 30 pounds, dropping from 180 pounds to 150 pounds. I noticed that I was having acid reflux less and less often, and eventually the reflux completely stopped.
There were so many foods I wasn't supposed to eat, but I realized that they didn't seem to trigger acid reflux anymore. Now I drink coffee whenever I want, I ate a ton of chocolate at Easter, and I can order spicy food at a Chinese restaurantnone of my old triggers bothers me anymore. As long as I keep the portions under control, I never have any GERD symptoms.
I still take Nexium as a precaution, but I actually forgot to take it this morning and haven't really noticed. Some days are harder than others to stick to my diet, but it's worth it to me not to be overweight. And the acid reflux curewell, that was just a pleasant surprise!