I suppose all this started around three years ago when I was having problems with my tongue. It would swell for no apparent reason and become rough and sore. I saw a couple of doctors who suggested that I take omeprazole and stop taking vitamins. I have done a lot of research about PPI drugs and have decided they are not something I would be happy to take, for a number of reasons.
As time went on, I developed digestive problems; when I ate, my stomach was very slow to empty and I started experiencing difficulty swallowing.
Over the past two years these symptoms have got worse. Doctors just kept saying take omeprazole. This is a drug for excessive stomach acid.....not a good thing to take if you don't have ENOUGH stomach acid, which is one of my problems. It seems these PPI drugs are just handed out to anyone with a digestive problem (without testing first to see if they are appropriate). As you get older, acid production decreases in the stomach....... reducing it even more with drugs is not a good idea! We need stomach acid to kill harmful bacteria and help digest our food properly.
My doctors have not been as helpful as I would have liked (I'm trying to be polite here) and so I have paid over £2,000 for private tests over the past two years. Through those I have found out that I have 'empty sella syndrome' (no visible pituitary gland) - which my doctor said I needn't worry about (what?!) - plus I have a a 'Schatzki Ring' (an oesophageal stricture).
A recent gastroscopy also revealed I have a hiatus hernia and small stomach polyps.
I also have gastroparesis (delayed emptying of stomach).
Add to all of this heart palpitations (for no apparent reason), dizziness and shallow breathing....and you just about have the picture!
The hiatus hernia and oesophageal stricture cause my swallowing problems. I often feel like I have a golf ball in my throat.
I have also discovered that the hernia causes heart palps and shallow breathing as it presses up on the diaphragm. Light bulb moment!!! Doctors haven't told me these facts.....I have spent many hours researching my health issues and have learnt so much from forums (where people with the same problems support each other and share suggestions) and from natural health websites.
If you have a h/hernia you may find this website interesting.... http://modernherbalmedicine.com/articles/hiatal-hernia-hidden-cause-of-chronic-illness-2.html
My Coping Strategies
Through my own research I have discovered many strategies which help me cope. I have decided to take responsibility for my own health.....
I list them here in case they might be of any help to others experiencing similar problems.
1. I have changed the way I eat.
We buy organic food whenever possible and I have cut right back on carbohydrates. I have learnt about the health benefits of coconut oil, flaxseed, chia seeds, ginger, vitamin D3, magnesium, curcumin, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, beetroot, spinach, kale........to name but a few!
If you look at my list of health websites, you'll see where I get most of my knowledge and recipes from.
2. I eat smaller meals and chew very thoroughly.
3. Walking, yoga and meditation are my main forms of exercise.
4. I massage my stomach (peppermint oil and lavender oil in a base cream) when I have digestive problems.
5. When my throat is bad, I massage that too and apply heat (wheat pillow).
6. I do heel thunks to try and bring down my h/hernia (there's lots of info on line, but see here if you are interested).
7. I have a smoothie for breakfast every day and make my own juices or soup for lunch (easy to digest).
8. I make my own bread using spelt flour (a much healthier grain than normal over-processed wheat) and only have one small slice a day.
9. The only sugars I use in recipes are pure maple syrup, dates and raw honey.
10. I drink water throughout the day......usually warm with lemon.
I know it will take time for me to get better, but I have to believe that gradually, these things will make a difference to my health and well-being.