A few years ago, I was experiencing an increasing amount of discomfort after eating. A burning feeling at the top of my stomach, behind my breastbone.
I went to the doctor and over the next few months, was prescribed various medicine to try and control the acid in my stomach. The doctor could only make an educated guess at what was up from the symptoms I was describing. If things didn’t improve then the next step would be getting a camera shoved down my throat.
My wife has had that procedure before and it was not pleasant. Unfortunately, the medication I was trying wasn’t keeping on top of the pain.
They’d ruled out Helicobacter pylori as a source of the problem. It was also seriously affecting my sleep. Acid attacks during the night woke me up and kept me awake, which, in turn, led to me becoming increasingly run down. I picked up every cold that was going.
Finally, I managed to get a great doctor when I went back to the health centre. He read the notes, asked loads of questions and then gave me a diagnosis – Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). He said he knew this because he had this himself.
It was a huge relief to get a diagnosis, and to know that it wasn’t something that would require an uncomfortable procedure. Treatment was one Lansoprazole in the morning, and two ranitidine a day. For life.
I’ve been on this combination for six months now and it’s made a great deal of difference. It’s not enough to just pop the pills. You have to listen to what your stomach is telling you and adjust accordingly. Sometimes my stomach is strong and I can have what I want. Sometimes it’s a little edgy so I avoid spicy food, alcohol and other red-zone foods.
The biggest difficulty is missing out on coffee. A Starbucks could knock me out of whack for a couple of days. If it’s a good day then I can manage a small instant coffee, but that’s it. As much as I love coffee, it simply isn’t worth the grief.
In the range of potential problems your stomach can give you, I think I’ve got off lightly. I’m particularly lucky that I’ve found a solution that works for me. Hopefully, if I can shift my Dad Belly, then that will reduce the problems even more!