Hi all, first post here - hope I'm in the right place! Sorry in advance for the long post!
5 years ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, had an endoscopy to confirm, and was put onto a course of Octasa to treat it. The symptoms cleared up after a few months, and haven't had any re occurrences since (although still on the same dose of Octasa daily 2 in the morning and 1 in the evening).
I presume the UC could be completely unrelated but about 6 months ago I started with chest pains, like gas was trapped in my chest, often having a dry mouth - and feeling like belching was the only way to relieve it. This also affected my breathing quite badly and at the time was about 7 weeks into a couchto5k running plan. The chest pains came in waves and on a couple of occasions occurred during a run and ended up with me having a couple of full on panic attacks.
On one evening my girlfriend took me into A&E as the symptoms were getting worse, I was given an ECG & blood tests, all came back fine - so my GP has put this down to Acid Reflux and have been prescribed with a course of lansoprazole - one a day. Acid reflux or even heart burn has never really been something I have ever suffered with, so it has all come as a bit of a shock to me and something I feel like I have to battle with daily. The Reflux has also brought on daily bouts of anxiety (again only something I have rarely had to deal with knowingly - only once having a panic attack about 14 years ago when I was 20). Often also struggle to get to sleep on an evening when the acid or anxiety are kicking in. Now average 5-6 hours sleep a night, a big improvement from the 2-3 hours I was managing when it was at its worst.
I have also tried to change my diet since to help battle this, really looking for some advice as I really want to try and get this out of my life so I can start running again! Anything on diet or daily lifestyle would help and be very much appreciated!
1. Completely cut out coffee, now on green tea, chamomile, and lavender tea - (usually all decaff). I do miss coffee
2. Cut down on spicy foods, (still have the odd curry as a treat - but usually pay for it)
3. Trying to drink more water - often have to with a bone dry mouth every morning.
4. Cut out tomatoes and onions as much as possible.
5. Bought a wedge pillow for sleeping elevated and try to sleep on my left side when I can get comfortable.
6. I haven't smoked in about 5-6 years but I do vape daily - have been trying to cut down on this (Quitting smoking also ironically tied in with when I first started with UC).
7. I have worked from home for about 4 years, used to do a lot of long distance hiking on weekends to try and offset my lack of mobility during the week, but this has slowed down since the reflux, I've started to at least try and walk a couple of miles a day this past couple of weeks - but frustratingly even walking does now also seem to trigger the Acid & Anxiety for me for some reason
8. Chewing gum! Heard its good for acid reflux and think it has helped a little.
My GP has told me the anxiety and Reflux are usually related and one causes the other to flare up, so slowly learning to manage both. I've also been listening to DARE by Barry McDonagh to help battle the anxiety attacks - brilliant book btw and has helped a lot.
With the UC I'm still not sure what is going to happen with that - the two prescriptions Im on conflict a little with each other - I'm supposed to take 2 octasa in a morning and 1 on an evening before main meals though have only been taking 2 in a morning of late (also noticed in the small print that this shouldnt be taken within a couple of hours of indigestion medicine) - the lansoprazole 1 a day half an hour to an hour before a main meal. I think I'm finally due a checkup at the hospital for the UC in the next few months (it has been nearly two years since I was last called in) and really hoping they'll see about cutting down the octasa. I am thankful for what it has done to alleviate my symptoms, and maybe a little paranoia but I am always concerned about taking any medication long term, unless necessary.
Any further advice and help is greatly appreciated!