For more than 20 years I’ve taken prilosec (or the generic, omeprazole). I was prescribed the medicine when I went to the doctor for stomach pain. He suggested that it could be stomach ulcers and ordered some upper GI testing. Back then you drank this horrible thick pink liquid and then lay face down on a table that tilted you back and forth like a lava lamp. It was a very awkward procedure to say the least.
Thankfully no ulcers were found, but the pain persisted so we continued with the testing and finally found that my gal bladder was full of stones and needed to be removed.
After having my gal bladder removed I tried to stop the prilosec but by then it was in my system and trying to stop it caused terrible reflux and heartburn. It was easier just to stay on it and the doctor agreed. Remember this was more than 20 years ago…
Fast forward to today and I am on my third day of not taking prilosec.
It’s been seven weeks since I began this process of weaning myself off the drug.
I started this process after going to the doctor a few months ago for stomach pain. Ironic huh 🙂 My doctor wanted to run some test but I couldn’t be seen by the specialist for about six months and in the mean time “we could up the dose of prilosec if I wanted to” That’s when I made the decision to look into options for myself and do what I could on my own.
Last week was the last step down dose of the prilosec of each week removing 25 of the 200 little balls in a 40mg omeprazole (generic prilosec) capsule. I have spoken to other people with the same dosage but their capsules have only 36 little balls. They made the decision to reduce it by 6 little balls each week.
Side note: I have to admit that I chuckle a little bit every time I type “little balls” It’s just funny. Yes I’m 12 years old. 🙂
Anyway…. I have had some moderate discomfort with heartburn and a couple instances of reflux, but in total disclosure I have to admit that I’ve been a little bad in regards to my diet (pizza and wine) and lets go ahead and add portion control to the mix too, all of which is probably more the cause of my discomfort instead of the absence of the medicine.
I’ve also decided to add probiotic to may daily regimen. Following is a list of the supplements I’m taking now and I’ve included some information on all of them from Dr. Amy Myers with mindbodygreen.
Our gut is full of “good”and friendly bacteria that help us properly break down and digest our food. They help keep our gut in check and prevent ‘bad’ bacteria from overgrowth. Unfortunately, these friendly bacteria can be depleted and disrupted by taking antibiotics, steroids, acid-blocking medications, eating a poor diet, and many other factors. Taking a highly concentrated dose (25-100 billion units a day) of probiotics on a daily basis can help you regain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is fundamental to the well-being of the digestive and immune systems. Glutamine is great for repairing damage to the gut, helping the gut lining to regrow and repair, undoing the damage caused by leaky gut, and reducing sugar cravings. I recommend 3-5 grams a day.
Digestive enzymes are plant or microbial-based supplements that support the breakdown, absorption, and utilization of macronutrients. Taken with meals, they work with the body’s own reduced supply of enzymes to achieve maximum digestion and support intestinal repair mechanisms.
It might have kind of a strange name, but slippery elm has been used as an effective gut healer for centuries in the United States. This supplement both contains mucilage and stimulates nerve endings in the body’s intestinal tract to increase natural mucus secretion, which is an instrumental part of the stomach’s protective lining and helps combat ulcers and excessive acidity in the digestive system. It also contains important antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel symptoms.
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)
DGL is an herb that has been used for over 3,000 years in the treatment of digestive issues including ulcers and indigestion. It’s made from whole licorice, but the manufacturing process includes the removal of glycyrrhizin, which can cause an elevation in blood pressure. DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum.
Like I said before, this will be a lifetime process of being aware of my diet and the triggers that cause discomfort. Also managing portion control, properly chewing my food and not eating two hours before bedtime.
These are things I should have been doing all along and I suppose we can chalk that up to being another side effect of the PPI drugs. Being able to over eat and basically eat anything I wanted because I could just take a pill for any discomfort it caused me. Think about that for a minute. How crazy is that?
It makes me wonder if there was a pill that cured cancer how many people would start smoking (again).
Now that I’ve had to pay attention to the foods I eat and when I eat them I have learned that if I start my day on the “right track” then the rest of the day goes well. The “right track” for me is a breakfast of mostly protein and very little, if any grains. Luckily we are blessed daily by our chickens with fresh eggs and I have a freezer full of sausage and bacon from our hogs. Cereal, over night oats and muffins for breakfast are out (for now anyway).
The most important factor about dinner is timing and portion control. I try very hard to make sure that dinner is finished at least 2 hours before bedtime and I also make sure that my portions are in check by using a salad plate as my dinner plate. I also drink very little fluids with dinner usually just sipping on some water.
This is my plan for the next 30 days… Now that I’ve stopped the prilosec I will continue the L-Glutamine and probiotics in the mornings, DGL licorice before meals, digestive enzymes after meals and slippery elm as needed.
The anxiety… I’ve said that this process hasn’t been that difficult, and I’m proud of myself for doing it the right way and including the supplements allowing me to wean off the drugs and heal my gut at the same time. What I haven’t talked about in my blogs is the anxiety associated with it. If you’ve taken any of these PPI medications, then you know how effective they are in preventing heart burn and reflux. And I’m betting you also know how painful the heartburn and reflux can be when you miss a dose. It can be excruciating! I don’t know one person who isn’t to some degree afraid of pain. This is what can cause the anxiety. I’ve asked the Z Man many times… what if it doesn’t work… what if I make it worse…. what if I can’t do it… what if……
This is where I need to say Thank You to the Z Man for his support and encouragement through this. Thank You My Love! 🙂
While I was worried about the possible discomfort and pain, what’s worse is the fear of the terribly damaging side effects of these drugs that made me want to finish this.
I’m sorry this post got so long and I want to thank you for letting me share my experience with you, it has inspired me to do the research, to learn more and to make better choices for us. Thank you! 🙂
Have a great day,
Till Next Time,