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Health Updates + Why I’m Back on PPI’s for My Acid Reflux

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{I wrote this post about two weeks ago, prior to my honeymoon blogging break.  During this time, I became very ill and tested positive for mono at an urgent care facility while on vacation.  Safe to say, our honeymoon ended early and was not at all what we had hoped for.  As you can also imagine, blogging/social media will be pretty light over the next several weeks until I get to feeling better and get my energy back!}

I want to preface this post by saying that I am NOT a medical professional.  This is simply my journey towards better health and speaks to the strategies I have tried.

Health Updates + Why I am Back on PPI's for My Acid Reflux | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comIt has honestly been so stinkin’ long since I have written a health updates post that I cannot even remember what we talked about last.  One reason that I have been avoiding writing this post is because, unfortunately, not a lot has changed.  If I am looking on the bright side, this is a great thing because things could be so much worse.  But if I am looking on the not-so-bright side, it also means that I am frustratingly not really feeling any better.

For those who are newer to CEVG or who have forgotten, here is a brief recap of many of the symptoms I have been facing over the past several years:

1. Joint and muscle pain
2. Almost constant acid reflux that is pretty terrible and can even make me nauseous and cause esophageal spasms
3. Cystic acne
4. Irregular periods
5. Hair loss
6. Headaches
7. Bladder pain/frequent urination
8. Depression (which I believe is strongly tied to the fact that I feel crappy physically)

And yes, I have been tested for autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, etc.

Over the past year I have been to both conventional and functional medicine practitioners with very little answers.  I have had (very expensive) lab work done.  I have majorly experimented with my diet (eliminating gluten, grains, dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts, soy, legumes, etc. at one time or another).  I have been working on reducing my stress levels and have gotten into restorative yoga.  I have been to an acupuncturist (who I love and has honestly helped my headaches a ton, but unfortunately none of my other symptoms).  I drastically reduced my sugar intake for a period of about two months thinking some symptoms may be candida-related.  I incorporated things like collagen peptides, l-glutamine, and bone broth into my diet in an effort to “heal my gut.”  I have transitioned to more natural beauty and household products.  I have tried natural remedies for many of my symptoms, including things like upping my Vitamins D3/K2 intake and taking cod liver oil.  I have tried combating my acid reflux by using HCL tablets, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice (for many, it is actually a loss of stomach acid that causes symptoms) and by taking natural supplements like DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow root, aloe vera, and mastic gum.

I can’t say that all of my symptoms are as bad as they were when I first started this journey, but the improvements are relatively minimal.  I will say that I do notice my acne worsens when I consume dairy and eggs.  I have also found that peppers, tomatoes, and some alcohol seem to trigger my acid reflux.  And staying gluten, grain, and legume free helps my joints and muscles to feel as good as they possibly can at this point.

Regardless of these subtle findings and improvements, I am still super frustrated.  I am frustrated that I can lead such a healthy lifestyle and feel crappy, while others can eat fast food every day and feel fine.  I know they say that “fair is for four-year olds,” but holy cow… this is just not fair.

My frustration with all of this has recently lead me to make two important decisions when it comes to my health:

1. I am going back to a functional medicine practitioner (someone new) this Summer.  Since I am not a medical professional, I need someone to help me connect the pieces.  Functional medicine practitioners are also much more willing to order certain lab work that conventional medicine practitioners will not.  Even if he cannot help “cure” me, I will at least find comfort in knowing that he cares and that he believes me.  Unfortunately, I rarely feel cared for by conventional medicine practitioners, or that they are willing to fight, scour, and investigate to help me find relief.  Returning to functional medicine is not an easy decision since it can be quite costly (most of it is not covered by health insurance), but since Jeremy and I know that my physical health is a detriment to my mental health, we feel it is important.

2. The second radical thing I recently chose to do is on the complete other side of the functional medicine spectrum.  I went back on PPI’s for my acid reflux.  I have taken a proton-pump inhibitor (it essentially eliminates acid production in your stomach) off and on for the past eight years, and I absolutely hate it.  I know there are potential future side effects (like an increased risk of osteoporosis).  I also know that our bodies need stomach acid in order to properly digest our food and nutrients + ward off harmful bacteria (this was the main reason I went off of it in July- I thought it was causing some of my other symptoms).  I know all of these things, but even still, I went back on a prescription-strength PPI at the beginning of this month.

Why?

I want to enjoy my life.

Health Updates + Why I am Back on PPI's for My Acid Reflux | cleaneatingveggiegirl.comSource

Back in April I was speaking with a very good friend of mine (who also suffers from acid reflux and takes PPI’s).  We talked about how we hate the potential side effects that the drugs may cause long-term, but we also talked about “what if there isn’t a long-term?”  None of us are guaranteed to live until we are in our 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or whenever osteoporosis might hit.  Heck, none of us are guaranteed to even be around tomorrow.  So why not enjoy the life we have now?

I don’t mean that I am going to take PPI’s so that I can go out and eat fast food and drink wine every night.  I mean that I am taking PPI’s while also making smart lifestyle choices in order to hopefully have the ability to not feel miserable 24/7.  I want to be able to eat a mostly healthy, balanced diet and feel good at the same time.  At this point in my life, that means keeping things mostly Paleo (or at least gluten-free, dairy-free) and blocking the majority of my stomach’s acid production.

Am I saying that I will be on PPI’s forever?  Gosh, I hope not.  If the functional medicine practitioner has other ideas to help me wean myself off of them, I will likely be on board.  But I also won’t be afraid to go back on the PPI’s if needed.  I can’t worry about all of the potential side effects that may hit me later on in life because getting to that age won’t be worth it if I spend the entire time feeling awful.

So where am I at now?  I have been on the PPI for about a month now and it’s not quite working as well as it was before (my acid reflux was honestly so good last Summer while I was on the PPI and eating Paleo, almost non-existent).  I have not been making the greatest food choices due to my very weird mono food cravings (and revulsions), so I am hoping to reign that in once the good stuff sounds appetizing again.  I’ll also be meeting with a GI doctor at the end of June and beginning to meet with the functional medicine practitioner.  I am sure it will be fun to see how their views on things vary.  Here’s to hoping for some relief and improvement in symptoms, while not flushing all of my money down the toilet!  I’m sure I’ll be back with more health updates in the future.  Until then, let’s kick this mono.

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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • meredith @ cookie chrunicles June 2, 2016, 4:26 am
    ugh, I am so sorry you are suffering like this. I hope you get some answers soon and I hope that medicine starts to work! meredith @ cookie chrunicles recently posted...June 5th, Tush Issues & Birthday CakesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 12:06 pm
      You and me both! Thanks so much for the positive thoughts, Meredith!
  • Lisa Lazan June 2, 2016, 4:46 am
    Good morning. I am new to your site; found it by googling healthy recipes. In any event, I am sorry for your distress. I am not a health professional either, but something I added to our family's arsenal that really, really helped is allergy removal. One anecdote - my son suffered from ill-controlled asthma for years. I found out, not through conventional means, that it was a dairy allergy. We had it removed, and no more asthma attacks. Amazing. I know you have tried everything, but I wanted to mention this, just in case you haven't tried it. Good luck.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 12:08 pm
      Thank you so much for your thoughts and ideas, Lisa! I appreciate it! I have eliminated dairy (and seen some positive results with my acne), but ultimately it hasn't been "the thing" for me :(
      • Lisa Lazan June 3, 2016, 4:38 am
        Well good luck. I hope something does the trick for you. Just to clarify, I didn't mean this was necessarily for diary. The doctor does allergy testing (not Western medicine type testing), and removes what he/she finds. I just find it fascinating and helpful. Might be something to look into at some point. :)
        • ClnEatingVegGrl June 3, 2016, 10:18 am
          I'm definitely thinking about doing so, I have just heard that a lot of the tests can cause false positives or negatives, so I have to really figure out if spending the money is worth it. Thanks so much for your advice!
  • Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola June 2, 2016, 5:03 am
    I'm sorry you're still not feeling well. I wonder at some point if you could go to a place like the Mayo Clinic to help you get answers. I understand what you mean when you say you rarely felt cared for with a conventional doctor. I have felt the same way until I had my knee doctor. Hope you get some answers!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 12:08 pm
      That is actually something that my brother (who is a doctor) has mentioned in the past. I may need to look into that more!
  • Andrea @ Pencils and Pancakes June 2, 2016, 6:11 am
    How horrible it is that you have to be going through this! I'm so sorry. I hope you get some answers. I am totally not even close to a doctor but it does all seems autoimmune related (But I know you've been on AIP with little to no help).
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 12:11 pm
      I know, right? I really keep thinking it has to be autoimmune-related in some way. Hopefully my functional medicine practitioner can help me connect the dots!
  • Kate June 2, 2016, 8:43 am
    Thank you for sharing. I suffer from a lazy colon and I've tried various remedies and have had little success. My last resort is a colectomy which I am considering. I think both traditional and functional medicine have their place, but what stinks is not everything works for everyone. I've spent a lot of money that I can't help but now see as wasted. My health is the only thing that I'd consider a low point right now, but it often steals my happiness, so I understand your dealings with depression. I hope that returning to the medication helps you. I thank God you have such a supportive husband. I hope once you're feeling better you guys can re-do your honeymoon. Kate recently posted...Q&A: BloggingMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 12:10 pm
      Thank you for commenting, Kate! I hate hearing that you are facing difficult times too, but it is nice to know that you are not alone. It can be so tough to know when it is "worth it" to spend the money, right? If only we could win the lottery ;)
  • dixya @food, pleasure, and health June 2, 2016, 9:09 am
    I hope you find some answers with the new functional medicine person :( hugs. dixya @food, pleasure, and health recently posted...Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant – RichardsonMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 12:10 pm
      Thank you, Dixya! I sure hope so too. Positive thoughts!
  • Ashley June 2, 2016, 3:32 pm
    Ugh Hannah I'm so sorry to hear that things haven't gotten better (and about the mono / your honeymoon). :( I truly hope that this new doctor helps to get you some answers / relief. Sending so many positive thoughts (and hugs) your way!!! Ashley recently posted...Hummus, Veggie and Pesto SandwichMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 4:21 pm
      Thanks Ashley! I REALLY appreciate it! And yes... the honeymoon was a major fail. We didn't even make it to Asheville and I feel so bad for Jeremy because he was MOST excited about that stop :(
  • rachel June 2, 2016, 4:10 pm
    Hey! Have you ever considered tying Maya Massage? It's a therapy that uses self-massage to assist in blood flow - it may help some of the issues you listed above (like it did me). Something to check out at the very least, if you haven't already.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 2, 2016, 4:22 pm
      Thanks so much for the recommendation! I do some self massage with therapy balls which I originally started doing in restorative yoga classes (and loved), but I will look into the Maya Massage more. Thanks!
  • Alli O June 2, 2016, 7:39 pm
    I feel like I could have written this post myself! I totally understand and have also recently gone back to conventional medicine because functional wasn't making me any physically better, but it sure was making me depressed. I hope you soon find the combo your body needs to feel its best and that you can enjoy life again! Completely agree that there's no point in worrying about long term effects when the journey there is miserable or you never know how long you actually have on this earth and might as well live it to the fullest while you can! oxox Hugs-from an internet stranger, totally fine ;) Best of luck with everything and feel confident in your decisions! No one else knows your body like you, and you need to do whats best for you!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 3, 2016, 10:22 am
      Thanks for commenting, Alli! I know you most definitely "get it!" Sending positive thoughts for healing your way :)
  • Anna Johnson June 2, 2016, 8:22 pm
    Sorry to hear you're not feeling well, I can relate to a lot of your symptoms. A few years ago I kept going back and forth to the doctors (MD's, naturopath, urologist) with pain/pressure in my lower abdomen, frequent urination. Was such an awful feeling, after a year I was finally diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis. Being a health freak I googled what I could and couldn't eat and became really overwhelmed and stressed out. Tried a prescription, made my hair fall out :/. A few months later I found an article about marshmallow root tea and IC, so I went out and bought some and it immediately cleared up my symptoms. Had a few cups a day in the beginning, then dropped it down to 1 a day or only if my symptoms came back. Around the same time I was suffering from really bad cystic acne, which was also right around my wedding which I was so upset about. Not sure what skin type you have but I actually have dry sensitive skin so as soon as I got rid of any harsh cleansers and started using oils my acne went away. I personally love a blend of Argan, Jojoba, and rose hip seed oil. My naturopath also told me to use turmeric supplements for the inflammation of my skin and it worked like a miracle. Sorry this post is so long but I know exactly how you feel, just feeling like crap everyday and not finding a solution. I hope you find your solution very soon and feel better!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 3, 2016, 10:24 am
      Thank YOU so much for your input and thoughts. I really appreciate it! I have definitely research IC and plan to talk about it more with the functional medicine practitioner I'll be meeting with. I have also been hearing crazy good things about rose hip oil lately, so I am thinking I am going to have to look into that!
  • Dani @ Dani California Cooks June 3, 2016, 12:43 pm
    Oh man, Hannah! I've been following along with your health journey for over a year now and I've been so impressed that you've been trying EVERYTHING and I'm so disheartened for you that it hasn't turned into feeling a whole lot better. I think your plan to mix functional/conventional medicine is a great one - gotta try hitting this from all angles!! Hope your mono gets better soon so you at least don't have to be sick on top of everything else. Dani @ Dani California Cooks recently posted...5 Ways to Set Up a Kitchen to Encourage Healthy ChoicesMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 3, 2016, 3:35 pm
      Thanks, Dani! I'm just going to keep on trucking along. First goal: get rid of the mono yuckiness! ;)
  • Cassi June 3, 2016, 8:33 pm
    What PPI are you using? Dexilant is the only med that worked for me. Cassi recently posted...Standing OutMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 4, 2016, 11:15 am
      I'm on Lansoprazole right now. It was working GREAT for me last summer, but I may need to consider switching to something else. We'll see what my GI doctor says at the end of the month!
  • Dana June 5, 2016, 11:00 am
    I'm so impressed with you! This must be so tough to feel like you're trying everything and nothing works. But the good & bad news is that you haven't tried everything - there is a solution, it just needs to be found. I do not have your same stamina. I've had noticeable bloating in my fingers and stomach that has increased over the last year. I'm pretty sure it's linked to the steady increase in coffee/wine consumption over that time and could solve it by cutting those down. But, I love those things! Maybe you can inspire me.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 6, 2016, 12:57 pm
      It is definitely NOT easy. I feel like I have great days and then days where I just want to throw in the towel. But you are right. There must be a solution out there... it's just a matter of finding it. Here's to hoping that happens soon for the both of us!

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