Reflux : Hello please help I am desperate... I... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

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Hello please help I am desperate... I had right thyroid removed as I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in June last year and then 2 weeks after severe reflux started I had left thyroid removed in early August and the reflux has got worse. I have been put on Domperidone 10mg 3x day and Omeprazole 20mg 1x day plus Gaviscon Advanced. None of these help... I have also had a camera down my throat and got the "all clear". I am feeling so desperate as this reflux is 24/7 it has taken over my life as it is embarrassing and loud.. I don't socialise anymore and just can't live with this. My GP tells me that I am not breathing properly???

Am I supposed to stop breathing?? I find myself feeling depressed as the continuous burping wears me out and I am lucky if I get an hours sleep as soon as I awaken it starts

20 Replies

I am really sorry you are so distressed and also without a thyroid gland.

Doctors make the assumption (and I'm not medically qualified) that 'reflux' is due to high acid but, if hypothyroid, the reality is that we don't have much stomach acid and need acid to dissolve food. Instead we are given antacids.

Most of us on this forum take some form of 'acid' either a good Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother in it) diluted in water or juice with meals.

This is an extract from the following link:-

It’s a common belief that we suffer from heartburn because our stomachs produce too much acid. That’s why basic antacids (Rolaids, Tums) work to neutralize the acids in your stomach. Stronger medications known as H2 Blockers (Zantac 75, Pepcid AC) decrease the flow of stomach acid and stronger still, PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) like Prilosec and Nexium markedly suppress stomach acids.

But contrary to this belief, too much stomach acid is not the problem.

The acid is necessary and overuse of medications which suppress it may just end up exacerbating the problem. Sufficient stomach acid is key in good health. Let’s see why.

Sufficient HCl is key to good health. Here is why:

1. Digestion and absorption pre-requisite

HCl is essential in the breakdown of vital nutrients. It allows for the digestion and absorption of the trace minerals zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and vitamins B12 and B3. It also triggers the pancreas to produce the bile and digestive enzymes needed to digest and absorb proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. If these nutrients are not properly digested and absorbed, a person can develop a deficiency which leads to other serious health issues. In other words, you can eat all you like and still your body will starve for nutrients.

Also get a new blood test for your thyroid hormones as you have no gland at all and your dose of replacement should be assessed.

Get a new blood test, always the very earliest possible, fasting (you can drink water) and allow a gap of 24 hours between your dose of hormones and the test and take it afterwards.

Get a print-out of the results with the ranges and an optimum test would be:-

TSH, T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3.

GP should test B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate.

Get a print-out and post for comments.

Be careful with the antacids as I'm not sure you can stop them immediately.

Rusty64 in reply to shaws

Really, really informative reply! I wish I'd known that years ago when I started having thyroid symptoms and took masses of antacids. Am bookmarking this one for future referral 👍

shawsAdministrator in reply to Rusty64

It is quite amazing what doctors do not know about hypothyroidism and its effect on the WHOLE body not just the thyroid gland.

It's about time all doctors were trained properly and to know that the deficiency of thyroid hormones affect us from head to toe and also learn the symptoms. Not just to rely upon the TSH alone for treating patients which doesn't always work in our favour and prescribing another medication for the symptom rather than assessing the thyroid hormones first.

Mhtaylor-55 in reply to shaws

Thank you Will get bloods done asap

I'm sorry you feel so awful. I agree with Shaws. I take organic apple cider vinegar whenever I get acid reflux. At first this was everyday with my main meal but now it happens less often and I use as needed. I have lost most of my thyroid too. My doctor also told me I wasn't breathing properly but I don't think this was the case - it made me think it was my fault and I had to try to breath differently. I think acid reflux can irritate lungs maybe? I had problems with several types of Levothyroxine and eventually found Actavis suited me so you could try a different formulation if you wanted to. I also found I was now intolerant of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and I'm very sensitive to medication in general now.

It's difficult when you have a thyroidectomy because everything hits you all at once and there is no time to adjust to the physical changes your body is going through. You will get back to being able to being able to have a social life, it takes time and you need to cut yourself some slack. Somehow we're given the impression, thyroidectomy, off work for one month and everything back to normal. It wasn't that way for me. 10 years down the line and still adjusting but I have a good life now I've discovered how to look after myself.

This site is great for picking up tips.

Thank you. Your words are encouraging and I will try the organic vinegar

shawsAdministrator in reply to Mhtaylor-55

Mix it with juice or water and sip with meals.


I should also have said that many take a Digestive Enzyme with meals, especially if it contains protein.

I buy mine from Amazon and if you order anything from Amazon and use the following link get a small sum to help defray expenses.

Mhtaylor-55 in reply to shaws

Thank you

Mhtaylor-55 in reply to shaws

Hello........Thank you to everyone for advice on my Reflux problem. I can't believe I have been through this hell for over a year and a Simple Remedy was found at Holland & Barrett ....Enzyme Full Spectrum Formula ...2 tablets 3 x a day after 2 days very little or NO Reflux. I am sooo Happy and relieved......I can get on with my life again. Once again Thank you so much to All

shawsAdministrator in reply to Mhtaylor-55

I am delighted for you. It makes you wonder why we suffer so much unnecessarily for the want of an acid in our stomach. Yet GPs will happily prescribe antacids. Doesn't make sense at all. It would if they could again learn all of the clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism and at the same time save the NHS money by not prescribing unnecessary meds for something we don't have and prescribing optimum hormones for the condition we do have..

Agree with Shaws, at one point I had an unlimited prescription for omeprazole. I definitely wasn't keen on taking it long term and eventually after (for another reason altogether) I went totally GF, cut out any form of junk food and avoided food with additives - especially if I couldn't pronounce the, I stopped drinking fizzy drinks and alas my beloved Fruit and Nut chocolate. I dabbled with apple cider vinegar for a while but didn't take it for very long I was able to stop the Omeprazole and I haven't ever gone back onto it, neither have I had reflux / heartburn again.

Thank you I feel so much better knowing that others have been through the same

Doctors really tell patients with acid reflux that? They aren't breathing properly?

I think the most important, longest and most intensive class that doctors take in their training is the one about patient-blaming, fobbing patients off, and finding the most ridiculous excuse they can get the patient to swallow.

I wonder if they tell each other things like :

"I told my patient that her problem was caused by ..., she accepted it, and I haven't stopped chuckling ever since."


On to the serious stuff...


I would agree with the other posts above. Your stomach is almost certainly not producing enough stomach acid to digest your food properly. It may seem contradictory, but that burning pain in your gut and your oesophagus is not caused by too much acid it is being caused by too little, and the last thing you need to treat it with is acid suppressing drugs and antacids.

There are several reasons for low stomach acid apart from hypothyroidism and most discussions of the problem on the internet start with those things e.g. Helicobacter pylori and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) are common. But the behaviour of the body once the problem occurs is the same for everyone, including those with hypothyroidism, and the way to deal with it is also the same. The missing stomach acid must be replaced. And in my opinion the best substitute is Betaine HCL + Pepsin. It is closer to the original thing you produced than vinegar. But if vinegar works best for you, then go for it.

If you want to understand why your body is reacting to low stomach acid the way it is then the following series of articles is worth reading.

Although the cause of your digestive problems isn't discussed in the links, the discussion of what effects low stomach acid have and how to deal with it are relevant to you.

Believe it or not, you are actually lucky. You've developed the problem of low stomach acid quickly and severely. Your gut hasn't had the chance to develop all the problems caused by gradual reduction of stomach acid over many years. Nor is it likely that you have lots of nutrient deficiencies and bacterial overgrowth, because they simply haven't had the time to develop yet. But believe me, they will if you keep taking antacids and suppressing what stomach acid you have.

Hello........Thank you to everyone for advice on my Reflux problem. I can't believe I have been through this hell for over a year and a Simple Remedy was found at Holland & Barrett ....Enzyme Full Spectrum Formula ...2 tablets 3 x a day after 2 days very little or NO Reflux. I am sooo Happy and relieved......I can get on with my life again. Once again Thank you so much to All

Wow thank you for this ... makes very interesting reading and a lot more sense as to the cause of the problem. My latest visit to GP (Friday) I was told it was due to an irritant brought on by the op and that it will go away after 18 months ...???? Is this doctor for real

18 months - how can he pinpoint your recovery so accurately? Your doctor sounds kind of strange. Is there no one else in the practice that you could see?

In the meantime I'd try and get my gut sorted out by myself, you've got loads of good suggestions and ideas.

I'd plough my way through them all, decide what's best for you and what you can keep up - no good following a regime if you don't think you can keep it up.

I found that some of the 'cures', good as they were, just didn't fit my lifestyle because I just plain didn't like the sorts of food I was going to have to eat so I ruled them out and got sorted out with eating things that I knew I could stick to indefinitely rather than stuff i didn't like and knew would have to force myself to eat.

Good luck anyway, does your doctor upset you or do you just take it all with a pinch of salt and go in to see him wondering what batty suggestions he is going to come up with next?

Hello........Thank you to everyone for advice on my Reflux problem. I can't believe I have been through this hell for over a year and a Simple Remedy was found at Holland & Barrett ....Enzyme Full Spectrum Formula ...2 tablets 3 x a day after 2 days very little or NO Reflux. I am sooo Happy and relieved......I can get on with my life again. Once again Thank you so much to All

Hi Fruitand nutcase ... I am going to "plough" my way through all the suggestions given to me. My GP....don't want to go there....have seen all three doctors in the surgery and each one has told me something different ranging from damage done while under anaesthetic to irritation caused by the op then to it will stop after 18 months on its own. This place is scary and a waste of time but unfortunately it is the only surgery in my postcode area. I went to see GP before the Iodine Radiation as I had a terrible headache and sore head with weeping bumps spreading down the back of my neck which were extremely painful.....He told me that I had an infection ????(prescribed antibiotics This got worse so my daughter took me to A&E where a dermatologist was called in (after 7.5 hours) who diagnosed me with Shingles prescribed anti virals and calamine lotion ....did the trick after a week. I am fortunate that I was living in a different area with a good GP when he first suspected cancer in my throat.... god knows what I would have to have gone through at this surgery I am currently with.

Goodness me! You were fortunate indeed. Fancy not recognising shingles though! I wish doctors would just take swabs and test patients to decide what the 'infection' they think you've got actually is.

If they did that then they would either be able to give their patients the correct antibiotic for the infection or tell them they don't need anything that whatever you've got will get better on its own in time.

That could be the answer to antibiotic resistance and it could save money as well as letting the patient actually get to the bottom of their problem.

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