Warning - contains graphic detail!!
I went to see a GP yesterday. I wasn’t expecting much of an outcome to be honest, as I never get much joy from my surgery. We have a steady turnover of different GPs so the only long-standing one is always fully booked and I don’t get much joy from him either! Yesterday I saw yet another locum.
I wanted to discuss the problems I have been having with severe stomach acid. I already take lansoprazole 15mg daily to help combat this problem but in the last 2 months I have been woken a couple of times at 3am ish with acid in my throat and as soon as I sit up I begin vomiting. I have either barely made it to the bathroom (just next door) or haven’t made it and once I had to vomit in my waste basket which thankfully is next to the bed. I then have severe diarrhoea which seems to be due to the severe stomach acid and is basically the same food going straight through and it burns (sorry!). I have been noting down my trigger foods, for example pasta with chunky tomato sauce or raspberries, and avoiding them since.
Unfortunately the last time this happened I was also a bit constipated so I ended up wide awake for over 2 hours with horrendous pains in my stomach and very severe bloating (I looked like I was 6 months pregnant) until the diarrhoea managed to clear the blockage and all hell was let loose. In the 2 hours before this happened I was trying to drink water as I knew I had lost fluids but was still heaving and bringing up bile. The nausea and diarrhoea then persisted for a couple of days on each occasion making it very difficult to know what to eat
After this last bout I ended up with a 4 day migraine because I had been awake for so long with the stomach pains. As this was now really affecting daily life I checked with my hospital to be sure this wasn’t a side effect of Gilenya, which can cause stomach problems, but my consultant was satisfied that it wasn’t so they said I should get it checked by my doctor. The consultant and my nurse also agreed it sounded quite horrific.
The locum listened patiently yesterday while I relayed all that had been happening. His verdict was that digestive problems are common in MS and it could be that or it could be IBS and I have to note which foods cause it and avoid them. I did point out that I rely on fruit to clear the constipation and ready made pasta sauces due to the MS fatigue so he told me I will have to try to balance that against my stomach problems! He did prescribe me some Gaviscon as I wasn’t sure if I could take OTC meds with lansoprazole. He also prescribed some anti diarrhoea med in case it happened again and recommended that I keep some laxatives in the house and balance when to take which. I’m not sure I like the idea of taking laxatives and anti diarrhoea meds alternately …
I’ve looked on here and on the MS Trust website and I cannot see anything about acid reflux being a common symptom of MS. I am well aware that the constipation is part and parcel of the MS which is what I told the GP. In fact my bowel was regular as clockwork until my big relapse which led to dx 5 years ago. (I was numb from the waist down and could barely walk, since then my bowels have been ‘temperamental’ but I mostly manage it by diet alone.)
Much as I didn’t want any invasive procedures I do wish that the GP had done some more investigation to rule out anything more serious.
Does anyone else suffer from severe stomach acid and do you have any tips for me? I’m already keeping a food diary and I’ve found a couple of quick pasta sauces I can make for myself that don’t involve tomatoes …
If you’ve got this far without falling asleep, many thanks