Fibromyalgia and Acid Reflux

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dhcpolwnk, Sep 28, 2002.

  1. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Does anybody else on this board have GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux disease) along with fibromyalgia? I've had it pretty badly for the last several months (and to some extent for years). I believe the acid reflux has damaged my throat and that aspirating acid or acidic gases may be responsible for the "minimal lung defect" with which I have been diagnosed. (Of course, since I live in Los Angeles, just going outdoors and inhaling could be responsible!)

    Anyway, my concern is that many medications recommended for pain in general and for fibromyalgia in particular seem to cause increased acid production. (I had that problem with straight pennicillin, but oddly enough, not with Amoxycillin. Not a pain killer, but something I needed to take to get rid of an infection that was causing pain.)

    I generally take extra-strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain, but that doesn't always work. More recently, I've tried Fioricet. Although it helps sometimes, today it did almost nothing for a killer headache I've had all day. I'm concerned not only for the usual fibro pain but also because it looks as though I soon will have a chance to start taking Avonex for my MS, and one of the common side effects is muscle aches and flu-like symptoms. I'm concerned that even if acetaminophen is working now, it may not work if I have to take a lot more of it. And then there are potential toxic liver effects to worry about if you take it a lot.

    So I was hoping to get some ideas for other effective, non-acid-producing pain relievers that I might be able to try.l

    Thanks for any help you might be able to offer.

    --Laura

  2. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Does anybody else on this board have GERD (gastroesophogeal reflux disease) along with fibromyalgia? I've had it pretty badly for the last several months (and to some extent for years). I believe the acid reflux has damaged my throat and that aspirating acid or acidic gases may be responsible for the "minimal lung defect" with which I have been diagnosed. (Of course, since I live in Los Angeles, just going outdoors and inhaling could be responsible!)

    Anyway, my concern is that many medications recommended for pain in general and for fibromyalgia in particular seem to cause increased acid production. (I had that problem with straight pennicillin, but oddly enough, not with Amoxycillin. Not a pain killer, but something I needed to take to get rid of an infection that was causing pain.)

    I generally take extra-strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain, but that doesn't always work. More recently, I've tried Fioricet. Although it helps sometimes, today it did almost nothing for a killer headache I've had all day. I'm concerned not only for the usual fibro pain but also because it looks as though I soon will have a chance to start taking Avonex for my MS, and one of the common side effects is muscle aches and flu-like symptoms. I'm concerned that even if acetaminophen is working now, it may not work if I have to take a lot more of it. And then there are potential toxic liver effects to worry about if you take it a lot.

    So I was hoping to get some ideas for other effective, non-acid-producing pain relievers that I might be able to try.l

    Thanks for any help you might be able to offer.

    --Laura

  3. barlow

    barlow New Member

    I have had GERD for years .... I have had my Gallbladder removed 12 months ago 13 weeks ago I had a Hiatus Hernia Repair

    Go back to your GP as this is not usual to have to suffer with all the Acid Reflux as well as the PAIN.

    I used the strongest LOSEC twice day and still I got no relief .... I even used NITROLINGUAL in the last 2 months before surgery to help relax the oesophagus and help with the incredible pain.

    Since Surgery NO MORE REFLUX at all.

    Why I am telling you this is that there may well be another reason for your Acid Reflux and the PAIN other than GERD .... this had been found to be the reason for me.

    Shalom Anne a.k.a. barlow
  4. PMangels

    PMangels New Member

    I have FM. But my husband has GERD. For years before he was diagnosed we just thought he had a sensitive stomach because he could not eat a lot of foods. He took Maalox by the bottle fulls. Then he was in the hospital for something else and while there I mentioned to the doctor about him taking so much Maalox. The doc started pressing around on his stomach and said he thought he had another problem besides what he was in the hospital for and he thought it would be a good idea if they could do a scope on him. The arrangements were made on an outpatient basis because he did'nt have to be hospitalized to do that test. There was a camera on the scope they did the test with. When they were done the doctor brought the pictures for me to see. It was unblievable how inflamed his esophagus was from all that acid.

    I understand there is a valve between the esophagus and the stomach that closes. When you have GERD that valve will open up and let the acid juices from your stomach backup into your esophagus/throat area. That's why he was feeling the heartburn so to speak.

    The doctor recommends surgery sometime but to heal him up he put him on Nexium. It did the trick. Now he is on Prilosec. He can eat anything now...things he was unable to eat before. So maybe ask your doc about this. It worked for him.

    I hope you can get some relief soon. No fun to feel like that.

    Love
    Arlene
  5. Wingingit

    Wingingit New Member

    Laura,
    You mentioned some meds you are taking that I am unfamiliar with so I can't comment on possible side effects.
    Can you connect the increased GERD to starting a new medication?
    I was prescribed Zoloft several months ago for pain/depression and had the worst heartburn almost every day after starting it. I feel for you...it is a horrible experience to live through over and over (not to mention the possible damage it can cause).
    I actually argued with the Dr. about the Zoloft causing it;he said it was not a side effect of the drug.
    I went off it and lo and behold, the GERD went away completely.
    You may want to seriously consider a connection to meds you are taking and if there is any connection timing wise between starting a new medication and the heartburn.
    I feel your pain and hope you can find a solution very soon.
  6. LindaH

    LindaH New Member

    Please be sure to drink a full glass of water with any med and don't lie down immediately after taking any med. You need to be sure it doesn't get hung in your esophagus. Good luck.

    God Bless
    Linda
  7. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Two-thirds of FMSers eventually get GERD. It is a muscle that keeps the acid down where it should be, so this makes sense.
    Muscle relaxers are especially notorious for making this worse. Meds and/or the malfunctioning of the muscle may be responsible and it does NOT necessarily mean you have too much stomach acid. That is where conventional medicine makes a big mistake. They tell you GERD is a progressive disease, but that's only true because the way they treat it will make 2/3 of the people who have it worse, not better.
    As we get older, we make less and less stomach acid. Stomach contents left partially undigested due to low acid (hypochloridia) are much more likely to regurgitate into the esophagus. Drugs which prevent the stomach from making acid are creating a totally unnatural situation which can eventually lead to Hyperplasia, a precancerous condition. Stomach cancer is fatal within 5 yrs. 95% of the time. Your stomach is meant to have acid in it.
    How can you tell if your problem is too much or too little acid? Next time you have indigestion at a meal, stop eating and swallow 2 tablespoons full of lemon juice or cider vinegar. You can chase it with a bit of water to get rid of the taste. Wait 5 minutes. If you are part of the 2/3 of people who don't have enough stomach acid, you will feel better. If you feel worse, go ahead and take an antacid as you do need it. But, if you do feel better, toss the Prilosec and antacids and start taking lemon juice in your water at meals and Calcium Citrate, 500. mgs. with meals, esp. dinner. Enzymes to help you digest food are also a good idea. Give this a month to work. If that still is not enough, you can take hydrochloric acid capsules, up to 6 as needed, but up the dose slowly, as they're strong.
    I had GERD so bad I threw up in my mouth every time I bent over, and I had to sleep on a wedge pillow or sometimes even sitting straight up. Then my neck would flop over and hurt like heck. I was told to take Gaviscon,which made it worse, and then Prilosec which had already caused my cousin to get hyperplasia, and was way too expensive.
    The lemon juice test fixed me right up, so I added it to water at meals and took the calcium citrate and digestive enzymes to help digest my food. It took seven months, but after years of suffering I was able to toss my wedge pillow and work my way down to a nice thin, flat pillow. In addition, I can now eat anything except green peppers without any problems at all.
    It's worth a try.
    Klutzo
  8. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    I feel the errors of regular medicine in this area are eggregious, and hope more people see this post. :) Klutzo
  9. Jillian40

    Jillian40 New Member

    Hello Laura -

    So sorry to hear you are contending with GERD. My mother and a very good friend both have it. It is a miserable condition. I too have read about the confusion between too much and too little acid production.

    I have a small hiatal hernia, and find that digestive enzymes (enteric coated so they pass the stomach and help in the intestines) along with hydrochloric? acid tablet helps when used on a regular basis.

    Thanks Klutzo so much for your step by step explanation of how to determine if the problem is too much or too little, by taking lemon juice or vinegar. I've heard the brief explanation of this but didn't know how to tell my friend and mom how to do this.

    Klutzo, since I first signed on as a newby, I've always found your posts and helpfullness to be genuine and right on the money. May God continue to bless you in your sharing of the strength & hope.

    Laura, I wish you well, .......... Jillian
  10. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Thanks to all have responded to my question about acid reflux.

    I have had acid reflux for years--long before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have no idea whether or not there may be a relationship, or if there is, which is cause and which is effect. I have gone to several doctors about the problem, but none seemed to to treat it as much more than a nuisance. Until fairly recently, I didn't think of it as much more than that, either, but after I started losing my voice periocically (both hoarseness and recurrent laryngitis, to the point where I couldn't talk at all), and when I found I couldn't sing anymore because it hurt too much, I started treating it more seriously.

    Nexium and then Protonix (to reduce acid production) helped a lot--at first. But now the acid seems to be breaking through and causing problems again. So maybe I do need to ask the doctors if something else might be going on.

    I *know* that the acid has increased when I've been on certain medications, because the problem eased up a bit after I stopped the medication. Unfortunately, however, it didn't go away completely. So I may not always be able to tell it the acid is from GERD, from a medication I've been on for a long time, or from some other physiological cause.

    The question of too much or too little acid is intriguing. I haven't tried the lemon-juice test, but I have found that if I drink lemonade, I definitely feel *worse*, not better. On the other hand, just a little bit of lemon in or on something, like a little lemon juice in ice tea, doesn't seem to make a difference either way. I also tend to feel worse if I drink coffee, especially fresh-brewed coffee, because of the acid. But again, I seem to be able to tolerate a small amount in flavored instant coffee on occasion. I can't really say that any of this makes me feel better.

    Cambrick tea seems to sooth my throat and esophagus, though. That's just hot water, milk and sweetener. (I use saccharin.)

    I'm not sure what any or all of this means, but thanks to your responses, at least I have some good questions to ask.

    --Laura

    P.S. I'm still concerned about which medications may have heartburn/acid reflux as a side effect, because I need to take that into consideration in evaluating various treatments. A special thanks to the person who mentioned having this as a side effect of Zoloft. I'm not currently taking any antidepressants, but I may wind up having to go on one because of MS-induced depression and/or because of a depression side effect of an MS medication I expect to start taking in the next few months. I'm hoping I can avoid that, but just in case, it's good to know about the side effects of the anti-depressant alternatives.
  11. lmn

    lmn New Member

    I was diagnosed with FMS 2 years ago this month, and have been treated for GERD for about 3 years. I had a major episode of GERD that was so bad I ended up at the ER. First they thought it was my gallbladder, then decided it was reflux. I took Prevacid for 6 months, and have been taking Ranitidine for the last 2 1/2 years. It worked fine, but I still avoided coffee, mayonnaise, eggs, hamburgers, and other rich oily/greasy foods.

    This topic is quite timely for me, because I had another major episode last week. I thought it could be because I drank frozen coffees a few times a week this summer, and most recently had eaten chili, cole slaw and potato salad(ah, those barbecues!!). Anyway, my primary prescribed Protonix to take the place of the Ranitidine, and scheduled a scope for later this Fall. She feels this has gone on long enough and wants to take a look at my insides.

    So, in the meantime, I will continue to avoid coffee and all the other things that I know are a problem. Try to eat small meals more often rather than 3 main meals. Don't lie down less than 2 hours after eating, and try to get some light exercise (walking is perfect). I don't know if the GERD is caused by the FMS because I had stomach problems on and off for years. I also think I had FMS for a while before that was diagnosed, too.

    Best of luck, Laura. Feel better, lmn
  12. finnigan1229

    finnigan1229 New Member

    Hi Laura - I have reflux, but I take 800mg of prescription Ibuprofen several times a day and a Prilosec to go along with each one. I still have some problems occasionally but nothing that Malox or AlkaMints can't help.
  13. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    I've had GERD for years, way before I was diagnosed with FMS. My dr. put me on Prilosec - it's a wonder drug! I also had an endoscopy - where they look down your throat to make sure your esophagus is okay. If you're not sure, please go to a gastroenterologist who can diagnose you and give you the proper treatment. As far as I can tell with me, I don't see a link between GERD and FMS.
  14. glendamarie22

    glendamarie22 New Member

    or "the Purple Pill," as some people call it. It's been very effective for me. I used to have horrible flare ups and couldn't eat for weeks! Since this medication was prescribed, I haven't had a single problem.

    ~Glenda
  15. Sundra

    Sundra New Member

    I have both Fibro and GERD. I have had the GERD for much longer than the Fibro. My Dr had me on Nexium, which did fine for a while and then the symptoms recurred. I get GERD so bad at times that I actually inhale the reflux at night and wake up choking. It is interesting that so many of us with Fibro have GERD. Makes you wonder if there is some sort of connection.

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