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 Old timer - New symptom- Reflux
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Carolyn

184 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2014 :  21:25:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm probably about 8+ years completely cured from pelvic pain and multiple other symptoms since then. Now I'm back looking for others' experience with acid reflux.

I have little doubt that it is TMS. I have taken on way too much at work along with some stressful life events and boom I'm waking up in the middle of the night choking on stomach acid. It was happening repeatedly so I did go to the doctor- who said it's probably stress- but put me on a proton-pump inhibitor. After two days on the drug, the reflux was gone and I woke up the next morning with a terrible back spasm and trouble standing up. That almost made me laugh. Since I knew what it was, I was better in four days. I'm weaning off the drugs now after a few weeks so I'm seeking some reinforcement in case the rogue back spasm is not enough to tame my gremlin.

Positive stories of beating it only please. Although well-intentioned I'm sure, the last thing I need is the planting of doubt in my subconscious. When someone on this board told me that my dry eye was definitely NOT TMS, it persisted for quite some time until I realized that of course it WAS TMS- and have now been completely free of that for years as well.

Many thanks in advance!!

Carolyn

MachEng

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2014 :  13:24:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had a similar situation. I suffered from lower back pain for 15 years. Tried everything, was ready to throw in the towel and get cut. But I stumbled on a local TV station's sports director story of how he read Dr. Sarno's books and was cured. I read them and got almost immediate relief. I think mainly because If I didn't know any better I would have sworn Dr.Sarno wrote the book about me. Once I got over the fear of the back being worn out and got better several months later I started the acid reflux thing. I tried over the counter medicine with some relief. I went to a gastro Dr. who prescribed Nexxium. It made my stomach hurt worse than the acid reflux. Because I was just turned 50 the gastro Dr. suggested I have a colon and upper test done. Basically he told me nothing was wrong thank goodness and then I remembered that I might have read something about this in Dr. Sarno's book.So I read it again. Once I recognized that the TMS had switched gears and was trying something else it went away almost overnight. I hope this example helps you. I have the type personality that TMS loves to attack. You have to keep working at it.
Good Luck !!!!

David Polley
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Jeff

USA
64 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2014 :  18:53:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think acid reflux now qualifies as one of the "classic" TMS conditions along with lower back pain, plantar fasciitis, etc. I also developed acid reflux when my work got crazy, and it was definitely TMS. I got the same medication you've received, and it helped some but I still had my bad days. I'm pretty well past it now, so it's another TMS condition on my list that I've checked off.
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Dave

USA
1864 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2014 :  10:06:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Carolyn
... the doctor- who said it's probably stress- but put me on a proton-pump inhibitor. After two days on the drug, the reflux was gone and I woke up the next morning with a terrible back spasm and trouble standing up. That almost made me laugh.

That is classic TMS, and your reaction was perfect.

Maybe there is some recent life change that is adding additional pressure and affecting you on a level deeper than you realize. TMS seems to be searching for a symptom that will grab your attention.

I have reflux, and admittedly still take a Prilosec or Pepcid when I need it. For whatever reason it is a symptom I have not been able to banish. I suggest you take the PPI for the full 14-day cycle and hopefully it will be gone. However, it is not so terrible if you need to take an acid reducer now and then, just like there is no harm in taking a couple of ibuprofen if you have some back pain. There is no need to suffer in order to recover from TMS.
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aokay

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2014 :  10:37:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A number of years ago, during a period of considerable work stress I was exhibiting stomach issues. An endoscopy confirmed the diagnosis as gastritis and the doctor prescribed Nexium which I took for over six weeks with no improvement. Doctor switched me to every other prescription proton pump inhibitor over the next 6 months and nothing helped. It was not until I put 2 and 2 together and realized the stomach issues were stress and could be relieved by Sarno methods that my symptoms resolved.
I still occasionally feel the gastritis revealing its ugly head and I nip it in the bud with a short course of Pepcid and/or Maalox until I can get my head in gear for the Sarno treatment to finally resolve it.
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Peregrinus

250 Posts

Posted - 05/12/2014 :  21:56:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carolyn:
Iím happy you started a discussion about GERD. I brought the subject up some time ago but didnít get anywhere: I started to think there was little interest. Iíve had a bad case of it and for years I was up almost every night with reflux. It actually scarred my esophagus. I found the acid blockers were effective but worried about the side effects. I read somewhere that Nexium was only approved for temporary (2 weeks) use. The symptoms largely vanished after I went on a low carb diet: I notice that when I eat out and consume carbs (even in small amounts) the symptoms return.
I do however believe that GERD can be a TMS symptom particularly since it usually goes hand in hand with gastric ulcers (the first widely accepted TMS disease). That said, it happens in the stomach and so diet must be a factor. As I mentioned in earlier posts I think that the rate at which your stomach empties is critical. If it empties in 2-3 hours you wonít have any trouble sleeping. If it takes 5-6 hours youíll have problems. My theory is that as you age it becomes more difficult to digest carbohydrates which then delays stomach emptying. By the way, it has long been known that in general carbs delay stomach emptying.
These days I can go months without any sign of GERD but it always seems to come back. This year I knew a stressful event was going to occur and I stocked up on TUMS and OTC acid blockers and sure enough the symptoms returned.
Iím starting to think that GERD is somewhat like allergies: itís a physiological reaction to a physical condition that is exacerbated by psychological stress.
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tennis tom

USA
4702 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2014 :  11:58:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
GERD, reflux, digestive issues can very well be TMS, they are mentioned in almost all the TMS literature. Since this is the TMS Board, I would definitely take a TMS stab at it, if the white coats are stumped or not helping anymore. Look in any of the books indexes or search here.

G'luck!

==================================================

TAKE THE HOLMES-RAHE STRESS TEST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale

Some of my favorite excerpts from _THE DIVIDED MIND_ :
http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2605

==================================================

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." Author Unknown

"Happy People Are Happy Putters." Frank Nobilo, Golf Analyst

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." Mark Twain and Balto

"The hot-dog is the noblest of dogs; it feeds the hand that bites it." Dr. Laurence Johnston Peter

"...the human emotional system was not designed to endure the mental rigors of a tennis match." Dr. Allen Fox
======================================================

"If it ends with "itis" or "algia" or "syndrome" and doctors can't figure out what causes it, then it might be TMS." Dave the Mod

=================================================


TMS PRACTITIONERS:

John Sarno, MD
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(212) 263-6035

Dr. Sarno is now retired, if you call this number you will be referred to his associate Dr. Rashbaum.

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seanpat

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2014 :  09:30:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In my opinion this is a classic TMS condition. I was about to go to the doctor to get "another" scope when I talked to Steve Ozanich who wrote a great book on TMS. He convinced me it was TMS and I resisted all obsession to go the doctor and in fact stopped taking all medication for it and it went away...The PPI's can be worse than the problem and actually can create GERD/Reflux in healthy people so be careful with these.
Interestingly (but not surprisingly) I now have prostatitis and constipation also due to TMS but I am having a hard time convincing myself it is TMS so it is sticking around. I have had prostatitis for a few years now and my urologist did every test known to man and said it is stress but the constipation is hanging around longer than ever and it making me question the DX which is of course part of the syndrome.

Sean Tracey
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Ace1

USA
1040 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2014 :  18:29:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Seanpat it just seems as if your tension just shifted else where when you ignored your reflux enough. I have come to see the person is not in much better shape when they result in a "shift". Stopping strained habits of rush and irritation is the basic fix although it is very hard.
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Dave

USA
1864 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2014 :  10:25:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by seanpat
Interestingly (but not surprisingly) I now have prostatitis and constipation also due to TMS but I am having a hard time convincing myself it is TMS so it is sticking around.

Good observation. Keep reminding yourself and it will eventually sink in to your unconscious mind where it matters.

Chronic prostatitis where there is no bacterial infection detected is highly likely to be TMS (it was for me). Digestive issues, including constipation and hemorrhoids, can also be TMS in my experience. However, this doesn't discount the need to follow a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of whether or not TMS plays a role, eating healthy (including psyllium husk supplements if you don't get lots of fiber from your diet) and exercising is very important to digestive health.
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Carolyn

184 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2014 :  21:36:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm so glad people picked up on this thread- the more reinforcement the better.

Several observations in my journey with the reflux so far- 1st- proton pump inhibitors are very hard to get off of. I had reflux, not heartburn, until I did the trial of the PPI which gave me wicked heartburn which took many weeks to go away. I did have an endoscopy (just in case) which showed some irritation but nothing major. The doctor then said if it is non-acid reflux they may treat it with muscle relaxants and/or antidepressants. Ding ding ding went my TMS radar and I said "so it's stress" to which she replied "no it's definitely not stress" and tried to schedule some more invasive pH monitoring and esophageal pressure testing. I came home and realized that I could easily go down that pathway again that I have tread so many times- inconclusive testing, worsening symptoms, more tests, more stress.... But I called her and said no thanks, told myself I know what it is and went to bed only to be up all night with the most whole-body encompassing anxiety I have ever had- just pure fear. I know to deal with anxiety now by consciously turning towards it, looking at it with curiosity, focusing on what it feels like, rather than trying to take my mind off of it and that seems to allow it to burn itself out. I now feel pretty confident that that was all the proof that I need to kick this reflux. TMS is such a strange phenomenon and it is so obvious once you are attuned to it.

As always, thanks for being my sounding board. I can't imagine the number of people this board has helped.

Carolyn
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MatthewNJ

USA
572 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2014 :  13:21:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Been there done that too Carolyn. What ever worked before do it again. I would suggest, that this time, keep doing it, even after you get better. that is what helps me stay ahead of it. It is so much better then getting behind it and having a relapse.
Good Luck

Matthew
Less activated, more regulated and more resilient.
Ferretsx3@comcast.net

Organizer of TMSwiki.org/chat
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Peregrinus

250 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2014 :  12:22:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Carolyn

I had reflux, not heartburn....

Carolyn:
What is the difference? Heartburn requires reflux!?
I recently discovered that reflux has many symptoms other than heartburn. What kind of symptoms did you have?
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Carolyn

184 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2014 :  14:33:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mathew: Yes such good advice- just keep doing it even when not having symptoms. I don't know why I can't ever seem to make myself do that!

Peregrinus: By saying I have reflux but not heartburn, I guess I'm saying I'm not sure that my problem is that I have too much acid which is what proton pump inhibitors supposedly treat. I never have the classic burning behind the breastbone and chest tightness symptoms. At least not until I went off the proton pump inhibitors which temporarily caused too much acid as a rebound effect and then I found out what classic heartburn feels like. Once my body readjusted, I didn't have that anymore. It's my reasoning for not wanting to take the PPIs anymore. What happens to me is that the stomach contents come up all the way to my mouth, usually, but not always, when I am sleeping. It seems to bypass bothering my esophagus and instead irritates my vocal cords and pharynx. It has morphed a little since it started (which is also another TMS red flag for me) and is now accompanied by a feeling of tightness in my throat.

BUT the reflux is SO much improved now that the intense anxiety and middle of the night sweating, mini-panic attacks have settled back in. Sigh- lack of sleep sucks. I swear that every time I get a new symptom, I find myself wishing I could trade it for the old one. It is so clear that the TMS has decided that I am not giving the reflux enough attention and has moved on- now to get it to keep moving all the way on out!

I just came across the saying again in a book I was reading last night where the character describes his fear as "I could feel the bile rising in my throat" and was once again reminded of the folk-wisdom and how we actually do know that these things are anxiety- rage based. "a lump-in the throat", "What a pain in the neck", "what a pain in the butt", "so-n-so's a tight-ass" (referring to my former pelvic muscle tension) "it's a gut reaction", etc......

Carolyn
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Peregrinus

250 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2014 :  17:14:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carolyn:
I recently spoke with two GI tract physicians and I learned that it is not uncommon for the ďburningĒ to become less severe as the esophagus experiences additional erosion. The burning may be replaced with a dry cough and the generation of phlegm from the back of the throat. You could also get a runny nose and experience sneezing fits.
Iíve experienced the same symptoms you describe in addition to burning.
Are you on any sort of diet? I recommend avoiding carbohydrates.
I also recommend periodic endoscopies. They are routine low risk procedures that could warn you of unsuspected serious problems.
Your experience with acid blockers is interesting and new to me. I found that discontinuing their use once symptoms abated allowed me to go for months without any heartburn.
I realize that Iím not sounding like a TMS true believer. It is because that GERD is a riddle to me. I personally see a strong relationship between stress and GERD while I also strongly believe that eating the wrong food will result in an automatic GERD attack. At the same time, I think it is a very serious symptom (regardless of its cause) and should be avoided at all costs.
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Carolyn

184 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2014 :  21:24:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Peregrinus,
I don't necessarily have this figured out yet but in me there's no question it shows all the classic signs of being TMS. I did have the endoscopy because regardless of what's causing it, I know there can be serious consequences. But once those showed nothing to worry about, I declined further testing to get at the cause- and that seemed to cause my symptoms to transfer to anxiety very quickly.

I think it is not uncommon to have rebound when discontinuing PPIs. I assumed it would happen in everyone- but I guess not. Basically, since there's a feedback loop to maintain stomach pH, when the use of Proton pump inhibitors raises it, the hormones that try to bring it back down to where it should be become elevated. They have no effect when the PPIs are present but as soon as you remove them, the hormones cause excessive acid release which takes a few weeks to balance itself out again. That's why the PPIs like Prilosec and Prevacid aren't meant for occasional use- though I think Dave said he uses them successfully like that. For occasional use, you're better off with the histamine-blockers like Pepcid and Zantac. But everyone's mileage seems to vary.

Just to point out that if you say "I also strongly believe that eating the wrong food will result in an automatic GERD attack", then according to TMS 101- this will likely be true. I personally strongly believe that my reflux is unrelated to what I eat and is a TMS symptom and this seems to be turning out to be true for me. I noticed that after the doctor told me to avoid tomatoes and the standard foods etc., that they seemed to become triggers for me. Once I decided I don't have heartburn, they don't seem to be. It constantly amazes me how that works. I do still believe that eating a large meal before bed with a few drinks is going to cause me a problem because alcohol relaxes the sphincter. I have not tried this one out since my problems began - but again since I believe it will still be a problem, even if it isn't, it suspect it will be.

I definitely don't have all the answers- but like you said with allergies, I think it's complicated. I used to always get terribly allergic whenever I went to visit my parents, once I discovered TMS, I started to see the inconsistency in that, like that sometimes it would start on the drive there. It doesn't really happen anymore.

Best of luck with all of this- and thanks for sharing your experience.

Carolyn
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Peregrinus

250 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2014 :  06:54:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Carolyn

e there's no question it shows all the classic signs of being TMS

Carolyn:
You make some interesting points and have obviously given GERD careful consideration.
One of the puzzling aspects of GERD is that (at least for me) acid blockers stop the regurgitation which implies there's more to this than acid levels. In addition, its generally believed that delayed stomach emptying is a symptom of GERD (I think it is a cause). I would think higher acid levels would have the opposite effect.
Your observation that your symptoms worsen when you are about to visit your Mom hit home with me. We relocate for the winter these days and it is always stressful. This year I stocked up on antacids and started taking blockers before we left which seemed to work.
Thanks for bringing your insights to the forum!
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Carolyn

184 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2014 :  11:55:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree that there is more to it than acid levels- and when I did the trial of PPIs, it did help my symptoms. You mentioned that you believe carbohydrates slow stomach emptying and I'm just wondering why you think this? Carbohydrates are digested in the small intestine while proteins are digested in the stomach. Generally a carbohydrate rich meal passes quickly through the stomach- hence the adage that Chinese food (high in carbohydrates) doesn't stick with you and you are quickly hungry again. Whereas if you eat a protein rich meal- which is one of the hardest things for your body to digest, it spends a longer time in the stomach where the acid is essential to denature them so the enzymes can digest them. That's why eating protein at breakfast keeps you from getting hungry (and yes- along with the lack of the insulin spike) But really the thing that has the biggest effect on the rate of stomach emptying is the fat content of a meal. Although fat is digested in the small intestine, first emulsified by the bile secreted by the liver and then broken down by enzymes, there is an elaborate feedback loop that regulates how quickly fat can enter the small intestine so it only enters at the rate at which it can be handled so a fatty meal tends to leave you feeling full the longest.

My personal experience is that a fatty meal coupled with some alcohol and a horizontal position is what causes me trouble. At least in the beginning and then it started to morph and become a more constant problem. I think there is usually both a biological and psychological component to the TMS things that come up in me. There is an issue to start with and TMS grabs onto it and makes it a much bigger deal and if you buy into it, that cycle continues, if you don't, you can go back to the level of the actual physical problem which is much more manageable.

In the end, I believe that anything that is controlled by your autonomic nervous system ("fight-or-flight- vs rest-and-digest") below the level of consciousness can be an easy target for TMS. Peristalsis- the muscular contractions that move food in the correct direction through your digestive tract and also all parts of digestion certainly fall into that category and therefore problems with reflux and stomach acid production both make me suspicious. And as soon as I became suspicious, my symptoms dramatically improved which tells me I'm on the right track. I never would have gotten here so quickly if I hadn't been through this so many times before.

Carolyn
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Peregrinus

250 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2014 :  16:27:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carolyn:
Carbohydrates include everything from wood to hay to glucose to fructose. Simple sugars are absorbed almost immediately in your stomach while your body fights to digest complex carbohydrates to the bitter end. Animals that consume plant fiber have multistage stomachs or they ďreprocessĒ their food (I think you know what I mean). Humans struggle with complex carbohydrates and that is why I believe that they take a long time to clear the stomach. The small intestines absorb glucose which is an end product of carbohydrate metabolism. It seems reasonable to expect your digestive system to deliver a useful form of digested carbohydrates to your small intestines.
I came to a low carb diet the hard way. I bought into the (government approved) low fat high carb Ansel Keyes nonsense and for years never touched eggs, bacon, cheese, butter, etc. All that time my GERD was worsening and damaging my esophagus. I tried all sorts of diets to control my symptoms including fasting after lunch. Around that time, my work led me to the realization that the real culprit in type 2 diabetes is insulin (and that we are all type 2 diabetics) and I consequently became interested in a diet that avoided carbohydrates (and reduced the need for insulin).
A low carbohydrate diet is necessarily high in fat and includes at least moderate amounts of protein. I was amazed, as have many other people I know, that such a diet reduces GERD dramatically. The easiest food on my stomach is a dish of half cooked bacon covered with melted cheese! At least for me, stomach emptying is rapid for fats and protein.

quote:
Originally posted by Carolyn


My personal experience is that a fatty meal coupled with some alcohol and a horizontal position is what causes me trouble.


I bet you were eating carbs with those fatty meals!

There does seem to be a common tread in the various manifestations of TMS that are reported here in that they all could involve the autonomic nervous system. After all, this is what makes you blush. Moreover, I agree that the various processes involved in GERD are at least to some extent so controlled. Perhaps the answer to my question: "What is GERD?" is simply the concurrence of a number of TMS events.
Carolyn you appear to know more about metabolism than any MD with whom I have communicated! What is your background? Your comments are like a breath of fresh air.
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Carolyn

184 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2014 :  21:40:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I should have said that I am a scientist and Biology professor- so yes I do know a bit about metabolism as I teach anatomy among other things. I think that makes me curious and perhaps my training makes me more objective - to follow the evidence- but it sure doesn't give me all the answers.

Carolyn
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Marlawantstohike

USA
48 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2014 :  01:19:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, haven't posted in awhile. I used to have a problem with heartburn before I knew about TMS and I quit caffeine drinks and started drinking ginger tea daily. not only did heartburn go away but my stomach was better.

I am reading Steve's book now and haven't got to the part about this yet. So wonder if we should be able to do any physical things, we should be able to eat or drink anything? To me that doesn't make total sense because of how many unhealthy food items there are.


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