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Acid Reflux? Alcohol?

FinishingGrace
Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2017

Is heartburn a possible side effect of HT or chemo? My neighbor is battling with a lot of heartburn in the last couple of days. With all of the fried and fast food he eats it would be easy to think it's from from that but I wanted to ask. If you have experienced this while on HT or chemo would you share what you did to get relief?

My other question has to do with alcohol consumtion. My neighbor expressed a desire to have a glass of wine occasionally and asked me if it was okay for him to have an occasional drink. Do you enjoy an occasional drink or do you avoid alcohol altogether?

Thanks!

 

 

FinishingGrace
Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2017

No one else has experienced heartburn? Or wanted a glass of wine?  

Grinder
Posts: 433
Joined: Mar 2017

My experience with GERD, hiatal hernia, and gastritis was all a separate issue from my PC, BPH and recurring prostatitis, though I was dealing with them all at the same time. We are talking a whole new ball game now. Firstly, if he is prescribed Proton Pump Inhibitors like Prilosec etc. they should only be used short term as long term use is linked to kidney failure. But often they are prescribed to prevent Barrets Esophagus, which develops into Esophageal cancer. There are better ways to control GERD, but doctors often prescribe PPIs right off the bat to avoid any further damage from acid in the esophagus.

Nextly there's helicobacter pylori infection. But he doesn't have to worry about that unless the acid indigestion is causing abdominal pain. You can google the symptoms. There is a simple breath test he can take to see if that is causing excessive reflux symptoms and is treated by two week antibiotic treatment.

Nextly are the various OTCs for reflux. Now that's a problem because several of the guys on here have discussed the role of excess calcium consumption and metastatic cancer. That makes Tums and Rolaids verboten. Sodium bicarbonate is a popular option, even the baking soda in saltine crackers can bring some relief. 

Some have claimed that excess acidity is the result of a lack of acid during digestion causing over production. I just don't buy it. 

Nextly, inflammatory foods and acidic foods. I avoid anything like that. Tomatoes and such products are out. Acidic citrus should be replaced with melon and other less acidic fruit. Jalapeño definitely out. Ginger despite spiciness is in because it is anti inflammatory. 

I could go on and on, but I don't know if his Reflux is that far ahead yet, or if it just a case of occasional acid indigestion. Alcohol is obviously inflammatory. Acidic foods and inflammatory foods can be researched  on the internet. Also, he can take enzymes to help with digestion while reducing stomach acid, like papain and bromelain.

I hate to burden him with a lot more information overload with what he is going through so I won't push this any farther unless he wants to know more... except for this one thing: 

I have been scoffed at about this, but I am serious about it. Anyone who doesn't believe it, that's OK, it works for me.

We've all heard about elevation while sleeping to keep stomach acid from entering the esophagus. But no one ever told me about the U shape of the stomach and which SIDE to sleep on. I hope to include a diagram of the stomach following this to show how the stomach is U shaped, which keeps acid trapped in the stomach when you sleep on your left side, and how it is an UPSIDE DOWN U when sleeping on your right side allowing gravity to leech stomach acid into the esophagus.

If I had known this years ago, I may have avoided the hiatal hernia in which the joint where the stomach lining and the esophagus meet becomes herniated complicating GERD issues and Barrets potential.

OK, I'll stop now unless he needs more info on GERD and other GI issues. But I just don't want him to lightly regard GERD because it can lead quickly to more severe issues. Also, someone else may want to comment on a possible connection between PC and GERD that I don't know about.

 

Grinder
Posts: 433
Joined: Mar 2017

laying on right side

Grinder
Posts: 433
Joined: Mar 2017

laying on left side

Grinder
Posts: 433
Joined: Mar 2017

I know some disagree with this, but I keep posting this anyway. It is patently obvious to me, and it is certainly true for me when I sleep. I always start our sleeping on my left side, and it makes a big difference... however, around 2 or 3 oclock, I can usually switch to right side when sleeping, because the GERD issues are past for that night. Even then I only briefly sleep on the right side because there are other issues like lymph drainage. The lymph system drains easier for some reason when sleeping on left side too. I can't help but think like I have stated before, I believe God designed the human body to sleep on the left side. Scoff if you will, I encourage anyone doubting this to research it for themselves.

Left side sleeping

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

Fearfully and wonderfully made. Each and every one of us. No dispute exists here....YOU were clearly designed that way. Count your blessings. Helps me every time.

 

Grinder
Posts: 433
Joined: Mar 2017

left side sleeping

FinishingGrace
Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2017

Thanks for the info about side sleeping. All new info to me. I will pass it along to him!

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3181
Joined: May 2012

Grace,

When I was an undegrad student, I worked in the Philosophy Office, making copies, filing, trivial stuff for a little money. We had a visiting Professor one summer, a big shot, internationally known. The secretary asked him one day, "Who is usually smarter, professor, an academic doctor or an MD ?"  

He said, "Obviously, academics; we have to produce something (he was referring to the manditory PhD 'dissertation').  MDs are just glorified plumbers."  I won't say if I agree or disagree, but as Grinder so well demonstrated, much of medicine is "plumbing", how to get fluids through a tube.  Gastrology, blood pressure, uriology -- all are just fluids going through a tube; what physicists call "fluid dynamics."

I have had severe reflux for 31 years. After being crushed in a wreck that flattedned the right side of my chest, my sternum and diaprham were both ripped/dislodged, and my spincter at the top of the stomach ceased to function: the hiatial hernia Grinder mentioned.  (Ribs crushed, shoulder crushed, back broken; a "flail chest" condition).  I had an Upper IG and imaging a few months later, and as soon as the test began, the tech said, "Wow man...you've got no resistance at all....that stuff is just rolling around freely."

My general surgeon says mine is best not operated on, due to very poor prognosis of the surgery working.  Sometimes when sitting, the people around me can hear a grunting noise. It is the top of my stomach sliding in and out of the hole in the diaphram where the escophagus passes down through....I have been on max-dose Nexium since it was invented -- no choice in the matter. Thus far, it has not caused issues. I was scoped during an upper G.I by my surgeon a few yeas ago, and he said my escophagus has no erosions...a miracle, in my opinion.  I developed lung fibrosis during my chemo. A pulmonologist later learned that reflux was the cause: Breathing gases so strong that they scalded my lung tissue !!  I have since learned that this is not terribly uncommon.

I learned years ago about the "sleeping on the left" trick.  It helps a lot for me, but is not 100%.  I will still on occasion wake up with severe reflux, the whole escophagus is SCALDED, like gasoline is buring in it.  I have awakened and had to run to the bathroom to vomit, and blown pizza chunks out of my nose, and my whole nasal cavity burned horribly for a few hours thereafter.  Sipping icewater for a few hours is all that will address those episodes.  The heaving leaves my face bloodshot red, due to the capillaries in my facial skin all breaking (more plumbing at work !).  You can see how red my face is in the picture I am currently using.

Eat bland.  Alcohol is not recommended for any patient on any chemo, but wine would be best. Beer is so gaseous, and whisky too strong.  I have several main dietary triggers that cause me hell later if I eat them:   Tomatoes or tomato products are the worst for me.  Beer is problematic, although I do drink it now.  Fried chicken is among the worst, but it seems somehow to vary with what kind of oil it is cooked in.   Obviously, as Grinder mentined, explicitly hot or spicy stuff would kill me.

Decades before Nexium or its sister drugs were developed, country people all had a home remedy for severe reflux:  Baking soda.  Mix some in water, and drink it down.. Sometimes it is all that will give me relief in the middle of the night.  It is safe of course, and its use as a drug for acid is listed on the box.  It used to be all that people had.  I have taken 12,000 mg of Ultrastrength Tums during severe episodes with no relief, but a few tablespoons of baking soda and water then rapidly gave relief.  It does not prevent acid, but rather neutralizes it.   Severe symptoms demand severe reactions.

Have him drink little alcohol, and be as bland as possible in diet. But I most likely would buy him a little wine if he desires it.

max

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

I share a cross section of Max's issues, and was a disciple of ranitadine (Zantac) for too long with mixed results. One day, I found San Pelligrino, a natural carbonated mineral water imported from Italy, for a ridiculously low case price at Costco. Bought a case. Cold, from a glass bottle, tastes absolutely fantastic and refreshing/ NOTHING like tap water. And I quickly noticed thereafter, that the GERD simply stopped. I mean completely. Wihout any more Zantac. Two 750ml bottles a day. One in the morning, one later afternoon. About a buck and a quarter a bottle. I now keep four cases on hand. (15 bottles/case). It is fantastic, for both refreshment and relief. Godsend.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3181
Joined: May 2012

I will find and try some of the water, DrJ.  I appreciate the account of how well it has worked for you.

max

Grinder
Posts: 433
Joined: Mar 2017

Max pretty well covered a lot there. OMG I had no idea what a tough row he has to hoe.

I just wanted to add... you can get sodium bicarbonate, along with a couple other antacids, in Alka Seltzer Gold. You know, the Plop Plop Fizz Fizz stuff. But it MUST be the Gold version, because the other versions of Alka Seltzer has aspirin, and if you are having issues with your stomach lining, aspirin will tear it up and cause internal bleeding. My mother went through that. But Max is right, Sodium Bicarbonate neutralizes the chemical hydrochloric acid. Sodium ions combine with the chloride ions changing it into sodium chloride. Be careful with the sodium if blood pressure is a problem. I have always wanted to conduct my own experiments with hydrochloric acid. If you put a drop of HCl on a calcite rock, it fizzes as it releases CO2. I have wanted to add different chemicals to HCl to see if it stops the fizzing, signifying a change, then figure what the new chemical combination resulted. Vinegar in pickle juice also is supposed to neutralize stomach acid. But vinegar itself is irritant if there is damage already. Just wondering if there is another element out there than can alter HCl without spiking blood pressure or burning like vinegar.

Also, you can check out H2 blockers as an alternative to PPIs, like Zantac or Pepcid AC. Although if there is chance of any damage occurring, the doctor will rely on the PPIs as being more effective, as they are more effective at preventing bleeding ulcers. I had pretty good luck with Zantac, but it was long after the GI infection has subsided and the GERD was under control. So maybe the symptoms were clearing up on their own for other reasons than the Zantac. I would only take Zantac and Pepcid for relief from the symptoms, but not to prevent or facilitate the repair of already damaged lining. That is what the PPIs are for.

Not much more to add since Max covered most of it since he's gone through so much. If I think of something I will mention it.

 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3181
Joined: May 2012

As you note, Grinder, baking soda has a lot of sodium.  When I drink a large quantity of it at once in an extreme case of reflux, it of course tastes just like drinking salt.   I do have high BP myself, and all  should note that salt causes fluid retention and a spike in the hypertension.  I only take baking soda in emergencies, which thankfully are not that common, perhaps a few times annually.

In general we need to tell folks that "heartburn" is not a minor condition, and needs to be controlled. Cancer in the upper GI is a very real possibility in chronic cases.  And allcohol is one of the most common known causes of throat and escophageal cancers.  The old name "firewater" is fitting.

max

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

Max, I have battled hypertension and hign bloodpressure for years. Until last year. I went to see my  sisters GP, and he prescribed a minimal dose of Lisinopril. Works like a champ. (as long as I remember to take it!

 

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

Grinder.....see accidental discovery above. Essentially what you are describing, but for me, FAR more effective and delicious.

FinishingGrace
Posts: 83
Joined: Apr 2017

Thanks. I guess my gut reaction was that if he is going to eat fast food for every meal then a glass of wine isn't going to hurt him. He hasn't ever been a big drinker or anything, I think he just wants to feel like he can enjoy life.

You've really been through it Max. Thanks for the info. 

I've never even heard of Alka Seltzer Gold. Will let him know!

hewhositsoncushions
Posts: 250
Joined: Mar 2017

May I make a suggestion here abot the diet.

I've gone vegan / fishy over the last two months and apart from a craving for a bacon butty (nothing can ever replace that gorgeous greasiness) I have found plenty of healthier alternartives. You can get vegan sausages and burgers, make vegan curries, fake beef jerky that tastes just like the real thing (Primal Beef Jerky MMMM...). I've not drunk more than one 2% can of beer since I started and it does not bother me but you can get low alchohol wine as well as beer.

Maybe you could suggest one day a week where he tries these things to test the water. If he can live with them he can up that.

C

Grinder
Posts: 433
Joined: Mar 2017

Drjr I will have to try that... I might even try the little experiment I mentioned to see if there is a mineral in the San Pellegrino that neutralizes HCl acid. And HWSOC is right about fish... The Omega 3 oils are anti inflammatory and helps protect the stomach lining from the acid. I consume a can of Trader Joes unsalted salmon every day as it is lower in sodium than others. But I have to use some vinegarette of some kind to mask the canned fishy taste.

However! Let me make a warning about restaurant fish! "Tilapia" served in restaurants is Chinese farm raised CRAP! And check labels in grocery stores...Walmart's and others are farm raised in China too. But the trouble with restaurants is occasionally UNCOOKED fish has parasites. This is how I got my GI infection that complicated my GERD and hernia issues. So eat fish at home you know is well cooked, but when eating out, order a salad or something. China's industries doesn't give a damn about their own people, why would they care about what happens to us? You can buy your cellphone made in China, but I won't put anything in my mouth made in China.

Off the subject but pertinent... Did you know that China has factories that make damaged US coins. They then ship the damaged coins to operative agents in the US who sell them back to the US Mint in their buy back program for damaged coinage. The profit margin was small, but dealt in huge shipments for quantity, which finally got them busted when treasury agents started to get suspicious. Also, China has factories making counterfeit collectible numismatic coins has well. EBay was five with them, the most popularly faked being the Seated Liberty dollar series. And PSGS authentication and encapsulation didn't help because they faked those as well. Although the grading services now have a number on the slabs that you can check to see if the coin matches their number.

Anyway... They say when South of the border don't drink the water, well if its farm raised in China don't eat the fish either. A health freak friend of mine told me not to eat uncooked restaurant fish, I should have listened. BUT get it and cook it yourself, or get it precooked from a reliable source. Not cooked by a crew of lazy teenagers in an ethnic restaurant. Just sayin'. 

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

What Grinder warns about concerning China is also true, in an even more evil and devastating way, with ALL pet treats/snacks made in China. I have the coolest little rescue Jack Russell/Cairn terrier, and the Chinese chicken treats damn near killed her.

 

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