I've had reflux since I was a kid, and been on Prilosec for 7 years or so now. After an endoscopy a few years ago I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiatus_hernia). I've been moving to a Paleo diet over the last couple weeks, and I'd love to get off Prilosec, but I'm not sure if diet will be enough to fix the problem. Has anyone else with a hiatal hernia found their symptoms mostly disappear from switching to a paleo diet?
I'm in the same boat, been on Omeprazole 20mg for 15yrs, about a year decided to listen to the alternative health guys on the net that say it's too little acid that is the cause for GERD and started changing the environment of my stomach from alkaline to acid and took apple cider vinegar and HCI Hydrochloric acid and stopped Omeprazole for a few days then BANG!!! Massive relfux and pain in my throat that didn't go away, went to hospital and was diagnosed via endoscopy of sliding hiatus hernia and inflammation of the esophagus (actually looked grey instead of pink) so was put on Nexium for a month to reduce acid and also Talcid which kind of soothes the esophagus, stops damage. So the pains went away.
My theory till now, is that if you have GERD but no Hiatus Hernia then it's easier to heal via low carbing or paleo or increasing acid etc, BUT a hernia is a bulge in the stomach that migrates to the sternum and open the LES, the opening of the stomach, the door as it were and so, what happens when you stop taking meds is that the normal amount or more acids are produced, right? That door is wide open, right? Acid is free to rise up and burn the esophagus and cause pain and if not stopped can lead to cancer.
But can low carb or paleo heal a Hiatus Hernia? I suppose by not eating refined carbs and sugars less gas may be produced and so less pressure moving upwards.
The Melatonin study I think dealt with normal GERD and didn't specify Hiatal Hernia. Taking Melatonin can give palpitations as well and should be used cautiously if you are taking anti-deressants which Iam and so took some for a short time only.
I found so far Paleo or low carb gives me palpitations in the evening, must be potassium/magnesium issue?
I would add, pressing down on the solar plexus area to push the Hernia down, abdominal breathing, hanging by a door frame to stretch the belly area, good posture, these are what I am trying now.
I would be surprised if a hiatal hernia could be easily fixed through dietary measures. But, you can eat in a manner that reduces reflux. There are a few things that seem to work but I think the best is to pay attention to, and to significantly limit, consumption of FODMAPs (google it). Particularly troublesome FODMAPs (for me) include onions and lactose.
Other things that help reduce reflux include eating in a way that strains the lower esophageal sphincter as little as possible, resulting in a tighter squeeze. To that end, note that the following loosen the LES: fat (especially coconut fat), dense/glutenous carbs (like oatmeal, dense breads, etc), stomach distention, especially as a result of liquids (i.e., don't overeat and if you do, don't drink liquid for a bit), smoking, peppermint, chocolate (though note that chocolate is a great source of copper - see below). Things that tighten the LES include: protein, betain HCL (in my experience at least), marijuana (even small amounts), melatonin (at least in my experience), and rest. You can still eat things like fat and chocolate provided you combine them with offsetting factors. For example, I eat a fairly high-fat diet but make sure to include protein at night (when I am not rested). I also only eat dark chocolate in the morning (and never before exercise). If I eat really wrong and don't want to suffer through the heartburn, a little weed prevents reflux for hours and hours. Btw, I don't take any acid suppression any more, apart from an occasional tums.
At a more fundamental level, it is not clear what causes hiatal hernias to form. If nutritional deficiencies are involved, my money is on vitamin K, copper, zinc, and collagen/gelatin (i.e., nutrients that are involved in forming/strengthening connective tissue). There is some support for this in the literature (but it is scant).
Perhaps if you avoid LES relaxations P& reflux for a long enough time, during which you eat in a manner that provides your body with what it needs to build strong connective tissue, you can repair a hiatal hernia. That's what I've been trying to do for the past 6 months.
I had an upper GI and have a photo of my very own hiatal hernia!
3 weeks into primal, I realized I didn't need my Prilosec any more after 15 years of steady use.
Months later, I can tell you I never need it if I stay primal; one or 2 days of wheat- and/or sugary foods and I need it.
My 80 year old dad had a hiatal hernia and took prilosec everyday. He went primal and tried to get off the meds and was miserable. We tried enzymes, probiotics, did not help. I can't find the link right now, but it is somewhere on this site, possibly under "gerd". It was a link to some research done in Brazil with melatonin and some other supplements. The melatonin dosage was 6mg every evening. Bottom line was this helped my dad tremendously. He only takes prilosec occasionally now.
I've never had a hiatal hernia, but I used to take a daily Prilosec, Tagamet before meals and Tums "as needed" after meals (all the time). My gut was a mess and reflux raging despite all of these. About 2 years ago, I started transitioning to the Paleo diet. I don't eat perfectly "clean" now, but I am pretty close. My only regular "cheat" would be one nightly light beer. Sometimes, I will have some ice cream.
What sticks out during my transition to Paleo was the effect grains had and have on my reflux. I kicked the pills and grains about the same time two years ago and have not taken Prilo, Tagamet or Tums since then. On occasion, I will say "what the hell" and eat some bread or other grain (e.g. hamburger actually on the bun). Boom. Reflux.
My advice is to get clean on your diet, and in your circumstances, "clean" means strict, at least until things heal. Drop the drugs asap and don't look back. It might lead to a week of discomfort, but you will be far better off in the long run. Best wishes.
I've had symptoms of, guess you would call it incipient hiatal hernia, just very occasionally, when I was eating SAD. Yes, it went away completely since I went paleo. I can wolf down my food like a - well, like a wolf. Once or twice I feared it was coming back because a long stringy piece of gristle wants to straddle the epiglottis or whatever, but no, it's just because I'm being a pig - er, wolf.
My older sister has full-blown symptoms, I think she'd panic attack even from gristle.
My name is natasha and I also have a hiatal hernia. I'm only 16. It's been almost 2 years since i was diagnosed. I can't yawn at all and get enough oxygen. In the heat I can't even hardly stand up because my arms/shoulders ache and I feel like I can't breathe. I can't stay bent over long enough to tie my shoes or I'll get light headed and dizzy and not be able to breathe. I was on omeprozole 20mg for a few months, then my doctor put me on nexium 60mg because the omeprozole was doing nothing. That didn't help at all either so they switched me back to omeprozole. Now I have ear infections in both my ears (have had them a little over a year) and really bad headaches every day from the time I wake up to the time I go back to sleep. I am in band and color guard (the flag spinners) is what I do. It's hard for me to continue with it though. I have to take way more breaks than anyone else and I can't even do most of the warm ups we do because then I'd be too tired and out of breath to do the marching. I haven't found anything that helps but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are one of the very few things I can eat without feeling sick and breathless. (I don't like peanut butter or jelly though).
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