Finding Out Once and For All: Hello There, Mr. Endoscopy!

endoscopy, intestines, proactive health, health procedures

Hopefully my gut is as pretty as this one! Credit: Hey Paul Studios, Flickr

Yep, I’ve finally reached my breaking point. I’ve been living with heartburn and acid explosions for too long. A couple of weeks ago I was so crazy full of acid that my face literally exploded with fever blisters. That’s not my cup of tea. That’s not normal, especially considering that I eat pretty darn well and work out regularly. I don’t want to do all the good things nice Fit Bottomed Girls do and still have issues, so I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist and she told me what I knew all along: that I’m way too healthy and young to be dealing with this. I shouldn’t have been on heartburn medicines for as long as I have been. I need a new plan of attack.

(It was a hallelujah moment for me.)

She recommended ultrasounds and a — gulp — endoscopy, which is scary stuff, but I’m so sick of being sick that I’ll do anything at this point to make it all stop. So today I go under for about four hours so that they can do a five-minute checkaroo. They’ll assess my gut, liver, kidneys … look all around in those areas to see what the heck is causing the madness. This ain’t cheap and going under is always terrifying for me, but I’m an advocate for exploring and problem-solving.

While my GI doctor and her team tries to figure out what’s going on, I’ll be taking her advice and purchasing some organic kefir and some alkaline water from Whole Foods. (I love doctors who take holistic approaches to wellness. I immediately eased upon hearing her suggestions.) So hopefully this nips it all in the bud. Wish me and that clever little gut camera some luck!  I would say I aim to be a fit gutted girl, but that sounds really zombie gross. Too much Walking Dead, sorry.

Exploratory procedures can be scary, but they can also be super duper helpful. What about you? Are you proactive with your health? Have you been delaying making a call and getting answers? If so, hopefully this is the much needed sign to making that call and getting some answers. —Tish

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  1. GFB says:

    What kind of endoscopy is this? I’ve only ever heard of the Upper GI’s where they endo your esophogus and stomach and it takes about 30 minutes of being under.

    Sorry to hear the stress you’ve been under?

  2. Erin says:

    I had the exact same problems with acid/heartburn for years. I’d had my gallbladder removed 10+ years ago & figured it was normal & something I’d just have to deal with, but this past year it became unbearable. I finally broke down & went to a gastroenterologist. The jerk didn’t even examine me! He just looked me up & down, told me it was just acid reflux/GERD & said to stop eating big, fatty, greasy meals (I don’t), to lose weight (I’ve already lost around 100 lbs), & take some Nexium. I was SO livid that he dismissed me so easily, even after I told him my history, so I found a new gastroenterologist. When I met with the new doctor, after examining me & hearing about my history, he knew right away something was wrong. He, too was livid when I told him about the previous doctor. He said at the very least, I likely had a hiatal hernia & immediately scheduled an endoscopy.

    It turns out I didn’t have a hernia at all but a rare esophageal disease called Eosiniphillic Esophagitis. My esophagus is filled with rings & striations that are closing my esophagus, making it difficult for food to go down & into my stomach. It was “digesting” in my esophagus, which is why I had so much heartburn & why it always felt like I had food stuck in my throat (because I DID). It’s caused by allergies & is usually more common in children (I’m 42). Essentially it’s asthma of the esophagus. I was on strong steroid meds for a month to try to counteract the allergic reactions & now I’m on a daily super powerful protein pump inhibitor. That drug initially was not approved by my insurance, but with the help of the doctor, he got them to approve it & also gave me a special Rx card for the medicine that brought the cost down from $135 for a 30 day supply to $20! I also use an inhaler twice a day that I swallow instead of inhale so the medicine goes down my esophagus instead of in my lungs. I was just informed by my insurance company that as of 1/1/14, they will no longer cover the inhaler, so now my doctor is going to have to jump through all those hoops again to get this drug approved as well.

    I have my 3 month follow-up with the doctor today. With maybe 1 or 2 exceptions, I haven’t had any issues with heartburn since I’ve been on this regimen. I still have some troubles swallowing, but my hope is that with continued medication & some experimentation with my diet (I think wheat may be a big factor), that will go away as well.

    I am SO glad I finally broke down & went to a doctor. I’m also glad when I finally did, I stood my ground & demanded to see a different doctor. I can’t imagine how much more miserable I’d be if I had just accepted what the first doctor said & just let this continue.

  3. Liz says:

    I had a similar problem. The acid reflux was waking me up at night with a gnawing hunger type of feeling. I took nexium, but it have me terrible headaches. I ended up using protonix and Pepcid chewables. I did get an EGD and the dr found that while I did have some increased acid production there was nothing else wrong. Slightly frustrating.

    I ended up taking a more holistic approach. I pinpointed the foods that seemed to bother me the most (carbonated beverages and citrus) and stopped eating those. I stepped up my workout routine, and I worked on relaxation techniques. Eventually the problem disappeared on its own.

    Props to you for getting it checked out. The procedures are scary, but acid reflux can lead to more serious problems. All of which can be prevented with proper treatment. Good luck!

  4. Aly says:

    My husband has to get bi-yearly colonoscopy for his condition, and I can tell you second hand, it is not a pleasant experience! We actually bought an alkaline water system (over $1000) but he has been cured of his stomach condition! I hope everything turns out all right, and that the holistic approaches solve your problems!

  5. KateL says:

    Good Luck , and please keep us posted! Props to you on being proactive. I try to be proactive, but I also suffer from the opposite. I work in medicine, so often I’ll delay going to see my NP because I just try a bunch of stuff myself and try to troubleshoot on my own. Sometimes it works, but other times it’s just a waste of time until I go see my NP! Trying to be better about that…
    Hope it all goes smoothly today!

  6. Kristen says:

    I had an upper GI endoscopy when I was in college (acid reflux issues/suspected ulcer). It’s not as bad as it sounds! And it is very nice to get answers. I ended up having to change my diet (no caffeine/coffee/alcohol/tomatoes/spicy food) and work on dealing with stress better. It was a rough year at school! But eventually my system balanced out and now I can have those things again. I hope you get some answers and start feeling better!

  7. Tish says:

    Y’all give me hope! I just got half news pertaining to the endoscopy which never sits well with me. Keeping my fingers crossed…but not my intestines cuz that would be harmful.