I would have saved myself a lot of pain if I had just listened to my dentist. He noticed about five months ago that there was additional erosion of the tooth enamel on my back bottom molars. We discussed acid reflux and he asked me what I was taking for mine. At the time I was not taking any medication because I had chosen to use that money to pay for my daughters' medicines.
My dentist was none too pleased with that response and told me to discuss the problem with my family practice physician. He also mentioned some of the OTC medicines that come in generic forms and informed me that acid reflux can cause more than just damage to the teeth. Of course, considering what I do for a living, I knew all of those things already. However, like a lot of moms I was in "self sacrificing mode" and thought I was doing what was best for my children.
Boy was I wrong.
About three months after that dental visit I stared having heartburn. I ignored it as best as I could and continued with my normal activities. I'm too busy to feel bad I rationalized. I'll deal with it later.
Later the pain became so bad that I was popping Tums and Pepcid as frequently as the label instructions allowed. I even went back to eating six small meals and got rid of all of my "trigger foods". The pain continued.
Four months after that initial dental visit I went to Urgent Care to discover that my acid reflux (in combination with too much ibuprophen) had contributed to a peptic ulcer. If any of you have had to deal with an ulcer you know what kind of pain I am talking about. It was the kind of pain that keeps you confined to bed and hurts to the point you actually pray to throw up.
After a follow up visit to my family practice physician I was placed on high doses of an acid blocker for one week and then was tapered to my now "normal" dose. It took about a week and a half to be able to eat without feeling like my stomach would explode. The first three days I survived on Saltines and Gingerale alone.
That was hardly the best thing for my children.
Learn from my mistakes. If you are having problems paying for your prescriptions you can look into the programs offered by the company making your medication. Many of them have savings cards that can reduce the cost of your medicine. Every little bit can help!
Listen to your body and take care of yourself. That is the best thing you can do for your children. If you are doubled over in pain then you won't be able to care for them anyway!
Listen to your dentist. Keep regular cleaning appointments and tell your dentist about your acid reflux disease. Sometimes they can spot a problem before you know there is one! Always discuss any changes in you acid reflux disease with your physician as well.
Published On: June 16, 2008