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GERD / Menopause Specialist??

I am looking for a gastroenterologist specializing in GERD related to menopause. I am a 45 year old woman who had a hysterectomy very young - I was just 27 and had it done because of prolapse. My ovaries were left, but the doctor warned that I would likely go through menopause early - my new GP recently confirmed that I am post-menopausal. But my journey has been long and I'm very tired & frustrated.... mostly of being made to feel that I am crazy. I began going to my GP 5 years ago with digestive issues and upper right quadrant issues - I've always had normal bowels, but would suddenly get bouts of diarrhea and then it would swing to constipation -- then I'd go back to normal for awhile, then the cycle would begin again. Over those 5 years I was sent for 2 colonoscopies - both with normal results, however, the more recent one (a year and a half ago) the doctor also performed an upper GI and discovered fairly significant esophagitis and I was told that I had acid reflux - GERD. I shared my concerns with the doctor about this diagnosis - told him that I had never felt any type of heartburn --- not even during my five pregnancies. He assured me that I was likely suffering from silent reflux and prescribed omeprazole. When I began taking this drug I began coughing immediately and incessantly -- I called the doctor's office and after 5 days when I still had not heard back from them I took myself off the drug. The coughing stopped immediately. Finally the doctor's nurse called me a week after I had stopped the medicine -- after she conferred with the doctor he gave me a prescription for Nexium. I went to fill it and the cost was well over a $100 (after insurance) and since I have a good relationship with my pharmacist he suggested that if I did not want to spend that much, I should try the over the counter version first to see if I got any relief. I did and what I noticed was that a symptom that I thought was completely unrelated seemed to get better. I thought I had been suffering from post nasal drip because I seemed to be getting excessive mucus in my throat that was leading to a lot of throat clearing - especially in the mornings, and it had been getting worse over the previous few years. So after researching I discovered LPR and thought perhaps the doctor had been right with his reflux diagnosis after all. Then I started getting very bad heartburn while on the medicine and then the stomach pain began. The stomach pain was so bad that it would be all I could do to get through my day at work and I'd be so exhausted I'd go home and right to bed. I asked the doctor if there could be ANYTHING else that could cause the esophagitis and he said not really and he had me try 4 different medicines -- all with the same effect. I finally took myself off everything and things went back to normal-ish, meaning I was back to square one with my digestive issues and the discomfort in my side, except now I was getting heartburn from time to time on top of it. I gave up on doctors in my area. Then I started having terrible skin issues - acne, really dry skin and hair, and the mood swings were awful, and the digestive issues  and discomfort in my side ramped up again on top of it and so I decided to try a new GP. She was patient and at least did not make me feel like I was crazy and did lots of tests - blood work, thyroid, 2 types of CAT scans and a HIDA-scan..... think she was trying to figure out what was going on with me, but everything came back normal -- except the blood work which showed that I am post menopausal. (Being a woman is awesome - UGH!) So I discussed going to a compound pharmacist for HRT with the new doctor and she was supportive of that route. But the initial test to be done (a saliva test) is a little spendy and my insurance won't say if they will cover it or not - tells me to pay for it and submit for reimbursement and then they'll be able to look at it. So I'm saving up to get that done, but in the meantime in an effort to get my irritability and mood swings under control I began taking over the counter Estrovan -- seems to have helped a bit with the emotional aspects, but since yesterday I've a lump in my throat that seems to point to another symptom in my heartburn adventures. So I started researching and it seems that there are a couple of things I may be experiencing. One - finding quite a few articles that say there is a connection between menopause and heartburn. Two - that LOW stomach acid often causes heartburn and if you take proton pump inhibitors and other acid suppressors (which I had been for 6 to 8 months) that the situation can be greatly complicated and made worse. Three - that estrogen can make heartburn worse. Now I'm beyond frustrated and just want to feel better. Is there a doctor out there that specializes in digestive disorders associated with menopause who will look at all possibilities before just prescribing pills?!?!? Is there a natural remedy???? Did I mention that I'm also exhausted ALL.THE.TIME??? I am really hoping that someone will read this and be able to offer me a real solution.
1 Responses
620923 tn?1452915648

  Hi and welcome to the GERD forum.

WOW you have been thru a lot and some of it sounds similar to y own issues...I too went thru premature ovarian failure and have had IBS and reflux for as long as I can remember.....PPI's were of no help to me either and I could not take HRT...so, I went on something my Pharmacist suggested it is from a Health food store....Remifemin (https://www.dailyhealthanswers.com/remifemin.html?gclid=CLqcjrySg8YCFYUXHwodmDIAgA)  
all natural and it helped me so much....I also switched from PPI's to a H2B...or histamine blocker and it has helped me as well.

Since you are ot sure if your issues are too much or too little acid, have you tried getting a PH test done?

When we take medicine for refux it can block our ability to absorb vitamins and minerals be it from the food we eat or from supplements for that reason it is important that blood labs are done to check those levels.....

So you may be tired if your levels are low....

Not sure where you might find a Dr that specializes in both ....but if your PCP is willing to work with you and research some of these issues it may be helpful....I could not find the help from a specialist and my PCP was  the one that helped me get things under control....

BTW_ I did not have the mood swings while on that all natural supplement....do some research and talk to your Dr about it.....
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