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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.


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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