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lagger 05-08-2012 10:18 PM

Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
New to this site, this may be long...

Around February I began feeling anxiety at night. This would start after I got the kids to bed and would be relaxed on the couch watching tv. My heart would race and would continue to bedtime and I had many insomnia nights where I couldn't get to sleep. I chalked this up to peri-menopausal. Then my heart would hurt and I really thought I might be having a heart attack. I looked up online and symptoms for women are different than men. After a few days of calming myself down and assumed it wasn't, seemed like the pain went away. Then around early March we went to a friend's house for dinner where she served a variety of wonderful and spicy ****** dishes along with chai tea. The next day my mouth felt burnt and I assumed I burnt it on the tea. The next day it was worse and by the next day it was so disgusting in my mouth that I had to chew gum all day. Then it went away and assumed the "burning" was healed. Then the next week it came back, but didn't taste as bad, just felt burned.

After a couple weeks of this and then pain in my middle abdomen settled in, I finally went to the doctor after reading about acid reflux. She put me on a prescription Prilosec of 20 mg and instructed me to take out coffee, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate out of my diet for a month. My last coffee and alcoholic drink were on March 17th. I began to feel better in the stomach area, but still had the burned mouth taste. I decided it was the medicine. I went back to the doctor and decided to go off the medicine, but she said if I get worse to go on the over the counter Prilosec 20 mg. After 3 days and pain set back in, I went back on the medicine. It did settle down again, but still medicine mouth.

I then decided to to my chiropractor whom I hadn't seen in months. They worked on the middle area front and back and got immediate relief! They also suggested to take out wheat and dairy out of my diet. Wheat is hard on the stomach, dairy can turn acidic in stomach. They also told me about aloe vera juice and had me increase my priobiotics. I began to feel better again.

A week ago while feeling better I went to an event during the day with doughnuts, alcohol, coffee, etc....I did cave and had 2 small doughnuts. I had only been wheat free for a week, figured that it wouldn't bug me too much. By night I could feel/taste the acid coming up my throat! It hurt and was gross and kept me up all night. I slept with an extra pillow, but just kept thinking about this acid that I had no control of. I could even feel it in my sinuses.

Then 2 days later with a clear mind working out, I realized that I had been taking fish oil, went home to google acid reflux and fish oil, and sure enough, it can happen! The week before (including doughnut day) I had actually increased my fish oil "thinking" I was getting my body healthy and it would help me. After reading several sites and doing the math in my head and realized the onset would always be after dinner (after I took them) I was relieved, but stressed that I did this to my body! I stopped right away. I got excited thinking I could stop the Prilosec very soon! I gave it a few days and slowly the pain went away, but the burned mouth still didn't.

Sunday we went out for dinner and I had crab, thinking it was safe. That night I had a rash on my arm and felt acid in my throat. My chiropractor suggested maybe I am having a seafood intolerance?

Monday I had a granola bar with wheat, did not read the ingredients well!

By Monday I could taste more acid, still not as bad as doughnut day. Now today I still feel the acid, mouth tastes bad, and feel the acid up in my sinuses, pain starting again in middle of back/front.

I feel like I'm going insane. I'm taking a drug, I've pulled all this food from my diet. I'm a generally healthy not obese early 40's woman, don't smoke, no history of this in my family, hardly ever had heart burn in my life (except pregnant). Since this has happened I have become very depressed, cry at many times. I'm not the mom I want to be because this is all I think about. I think in my head what could I have done to prevent this, if I could rewind I wouldn't have taken that fish oil. I want to fast forward and hopefully be all better, which I feel like I'm floating through these days.

It is obvious the prilosec is not working for me as I'm getting worse. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow. I want to go with something Natural and going to figure that out, maybe a good cleanse. I know a few people with acid reflux and they just take medicine daily and can eat whatever. I fear a GI specialist, but we'll see. I don't like feeling like this.

Some questions:

1. Has anyone heard of a flare up from fish oil?
2. Can someone have a flare up like this and recover?
3. Is acid reflux the same thing as GERD? I have read that they are different.

I think I remembered everything. I hope that if anyone is taking fish oil that maybe they'll learn from my mistake or that someone can help me.

lpr pacient 05-09-2012 06:39 AM

Kinds of acid reflux
As far as I'm concerned, there are two kinds of acid reflux:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease. Pain appears, mostly, in the chest area. Is more common and responds better to treatment.
- Laringopharyngeal reflux. Pain appears, mostly, in the neck area.

rosebloom 05-09-2012 06:40 AM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
I think acid reflux and GERD are the same thing or pretty close. Excess acid washes back up into the stomach due to the improper closure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle. That acid is not supposed to be there and wreaks havoc with your esophagus, larynx, etc.

My episodes of hearburn began at around age fifty two and coincided with the onset of perimenopause.

I don't know that fish oil causes heartburn, but honestly anything can when you are going through a bad spell. I always take my fish oil with my largest meal of the day. Do not take any medications on an empty stomach because they irritate the stomach lining.

You will hopefully get your symptoms back under control and can then start adding the seemingly offending foods in very small amounts. I can have a bite of chocolate here and there, but no more doughnuts for me, unfortunately. No caffeine, no red wine or much alcohol, and carbs take a long time for the stomach to digest. Milk products (except cheese) are not good for me either. Even yogurt can produce heartburn for me when I am having a not so good day. So I take inventory every morning of how I am feeling and act accordingly as far as what I eat that day.

I think people think that a lot of starches are good because they constitute "bland" food, but too much bread, potatoes, milk, oatmeal, bananas and foods like that give me heartburn because they coax my stomach into producing more acid.

You are not going crazy. Anxiety probably plays a role into this GERD, and of course having GERD makes you more anxious, so it is a vicious cycle. But try to get control of the things you can, eat carefully, take your medication, and your symptoms will get back under control.

I went through a really bad spell about four-six weeks ago when I had heartburn all day nearly every day and I thought I was going to die. I would go home crying every night from work after trying to put up a good front at work. I am now doing better. I went back to the drawing board, eliminated everything that produced heartburn for a few days and then started slowly back up adding more foods.

Keep up posted and hope you feel better soon.


janewhite1 05-09-2012 09:29 AM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
Yes, you can definitely recover from a flare, though if it's a bad one, it might take days or even a few weeks even after the trigger is removed. Many people have a bad bout of heartburn once and then are fine for years. Even people with chronic GERD go through better and worse phases.

At least 90% of people with GERD see a major or complete improvement on drugs like Prilosec. (Here in this forum, you mostly find the other 10%.)

Try avoiding seafood and wheat for a while. Call a gastro doctor and make an appointment. You'll probably have to wait a few weeks anyway. If you get better before the appointment, you can cancel. If not, you'll get treatment.

I personally found that fish oil was terrible. It'd make REALLY nauseous, and I don't have any problem eating actual fish.

vachilly 05-09-2012 10:26 AM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
I know how you feel. I have friends on Prilosec for reflux, and their lifestyle really hasn't changed much. I've had burning mouth, tongue and chest for a month now. I have been on Nexium and Zantac for almost a month, and I'm still struggling. I fight all night long with the acid in my mouth and even during the day. I've been to a specialist, and he is going to do a test that will put a scope down my throat and take a biopsy, but he has me on the same thing I've been taking. I realize now that I may be one of the 10%. I'm praying a lot. I hope yours is more easily controlled.

lagger 05-09-2012 05:32 PM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
I went back to my clinic today. I have a prescription for Nexium 40 mg for 2 months, still to stay off of the main triggers. She wasn't so sure about wheat, but said maybe a little would be ok. She said dairy is not a main trigger. I guess it depends on the type of what it is and the person???

I did find out that not only does it help with symptoms, but it helps heal the stomach too. I hope with the medicine, not eating the trigger foods, everything will heal.

Today I don't have as much acid coming up my mouth like I did yesterday. I also learned I can take tums or Zantac if I have more symptoms.

I did break down and cry to her as this is frustrating. She wasn't so sure it was fish oil, and said anybody can get acid reflux. I feel like for me it has been with the timing, and that I've read it can bring on acid reflux, I feel like I did this to myself.

Next I'm going to be calling a Naturopathic doctor for tips too.

I have so many questions, will be back to this site!!

janewhite1 05-09-2012 08:02 PM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
Dairy is a trigger for some people but not others. I imagine it depends on whether you are lactose-intolerant.

Triggers are SO individual, I always suggest trial and error.

63stub 06-21-2012 07:27 AM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
I think something similar happened to me. I've been very active and otherwise healthy all my life. After experiencing a sore throat and burning sensation in the back of my mouth for a few weeks I went to seek medical help. The whole thing really freaked me out. My nurse practitioner suggested I first try a post nasal drip spray in case it was just allergies and then, if that didn't help, a PPI. The nasal spray helped the sore throat a little but didn't stop the recurring burning sensation. After three or four days of Prilosec and cutting down on other triggers such as coffee and beer I feel better. Thinking back on when this started I realized it began a week or two after I started taking "triple strength" fish oil supplements. I will now forever associate those fish burbs with this terrible onset of acid reflux! I found your post as I was searching to see if fish oil could contribute to acid reflux. Hang in there!

janewhite1 06-21-2012 07:53 AM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
Hey, 63stub, welcome. Glad you've gotten a better idea about your problem. Fish oil may be healthy, but it's still concentrated refined fat in a capsule, and it can be quite hard on the digestion. Eating actual fish is easier on the stomach, and delicious rather than disgusting.

Like I said, you might continue to have problems for awhile after stopping the fish oil, but they should settle down within a few days or weeks.

lagger 06-21-2012 09:47 AM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
I put the fish oil in the title hoping that it will give someone a trigger that perhaps that is what's causing it. I hope that you have stopped it and can find relief!

I REALLY wish I had recognized my symptoms when they were happening. I keep going over the conversation I had with my I told her that I would have pain/anxiety about an hour after dinner. I think she wanted to hear that I was having anxiety. But for someone who does not get acid reflux or heartburn, I didn't recognize these early symptoms. By the time I continued the fish oil in my diet and then ADDED more in the mornings, thinking this would help get this cleared up, it was aggravating it so much worse and acid started coming up my throat. In my opinion, this all caused damage that now has to heal.

I went back to my doctor the other day to discuss that it's been 6 weeks on Nexium and that I have 2 more weeks on the prescription and am not 100% healed. I also mentioned I have been to a naturopath and am taking enzymes now. Also...after I stopped the fish oil and the pain was subsiding, I had a night of crab and strawberries and that produced acid and broke out in hives. I went to the allergy doctor and was tested for a seafood panel dairy/milk...all came out fine, but said crab/strawberries are "histamine" foods that could have caused a reaction, especially together. So, my doctor the other day was very weird with me. I was telling her about the fish oil and she just shook her head at me, said she's never heard of this. She said that we have to think that perhaps it's not even acid reflux at all and that maybe it's gastritis or even a bacterial thing going on in my stomach. When I was telling her about the allergy doctor, she didn't even write anything down.

I just wish that initially when I was telling her my symptoms that she would have said "do you take any vitamins/supplements/medicine during dinner?" I too didn't even think about this either, and I can't go back in time.

I am going to make an appt for the GI Specialist and figure out what they think I should do. I do have another month prescription for the Nexium, so have this summer to get this figured out. I DREAD the thought of being put under for a scope, but know they won't do it the second I walk in the door.

I just really think the fish oil caused damage and now it has to repair, and that's hard to do when foods are going down all day long and acid is trying to come up with daily stress. But, I really don't know, that's my best guess.

I even had another realization about the early fish oil and sleepless nights/anxiety.....they happened more during the week and I just thought it was weekly stress, but then thought the other day that we usually eat out on weekends, and I don't bring vitamins out. So, when the week would start up again and we would sit down for family meals, would have the fish oil is when I would have the symptoms. It makes so much sense, but my doctor was no help.

goldpapero 02-08-2013 06:13 PM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
Reading your post you could have H Pylori bacteria. Make sure to ask your doctor to check. When I take fish oil it also triggers acid reflux even went to ER because I did not understand what was going on. I had pulsations in my stomach area which made my pulse beat wildly and had lots of gas and felt very uncomfortable. The pulsations were apparently caused by a dislocated solar plexus which was readjusted by a good masseuse. Doctor said I have gerd and advised me to just get over-the-counter gas x/mylanta etc. It helped but reading more about H Pylori I was directed to ******.com and Mastic gum.

With several reviews on Jarrows Mastic gum, I tried it and had much relief - I'm so grateful. At first I took 2 capsules in the morning before breakfast per directions but it did not help so increased it to 3 and also 3 capsules after dinner/before going to bed. The Greeks eat mastic gum with their meal so there should be no side effects. I didn't experience any side effects only much relief. H Pylori is a nasty bug that often develop resistance to the normal antibiotic therapy prescribed by physicians.

Also, I have read a lot about Manuka honey. I've tried many different brands but found the Manuka Health MGO 250 brand to be best. I tried Wedderspoon 16+ and Manuka Health MGO 400 which are more expensive but MGO 250 works for me. If you have Vitamin Shoppe in town you can get it cheaper than from ****** which was odd. I can't tell you enough good things- relief from dull pain in my stomach, anxiety, while taking manuka honey.

Also, you need good vitamins I noticed my sleep pattern has been disrupted sometimes lying awake from 3am until time to get up. I take Twinlab's Stress B complex which also has 1000 mg of Vitamin C. This really helped me tremendously. With this H Pylori and much gas, I've been having a lot of anxiety I was advised to take fish oil for anxiety, I searched on ****** and found Coromega with many great reviews, bought it from the local VitaminShoppe and tried 1 packet, that night I experienced much discomfort. So now I'm quite sure fish oil does trigger gerd/stomach discomfort. I took a teaspoon of manuka honey MGO 250 when couldn't go back to sleep @ 3am and felt much better.

I'm now on my 2nd month of Mastic gum and lower the dosage to only 2 capsules in the morning and a teaspoon of manuka honey sprinkled with ground cinnamon my health status is very much improved. I plan to continue the mastic gum for 3 months then stop and just continue on the manuka honey which are the most expensive honey I've ever tried. Hopefully, later I can reduce manuka to 2-3 times a week.

Also, make sure to relax. Crying and worrying will only worsen your discomfort. I read about this woman who was suffering from this for 8 years. That jolted me up. I'm not about to let this problem run my life. I'm reading more about H Pylori and other natural remedies to eradicate it out of my life. Been doing meditation and sometimes still get bouts of discomfort and anxiety I tell myself "I am more powerful than you" (you meaning the discomfort) - it works! I'm still recovering and just ordered Siberian Pine nut oil online which I've read a lot of good things about for digestive issues. I will update you once I tried it and get some positive results.

Good luck!

lagger 02-11-2013 09:51 PM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
Thank you for that info! I have been tested for H. Pylori and it was negative. I was kind of hoping for a positive to try out antibiotics???

One thing I have noticed is that when I'm having a flare up, I'll take a zantac before bed and/or tums throughout the day and even enzymes before meals. I swear that it's on these days I'm feeling worse! I felt like it was flare ups, but I feel like that the medicines are doing all sorts of reactions to my stomach. I REALLY want to wean off of everything!

The mastic gum looks interesting!

goldpapero 03-25-2013 03:33 PM

Re: Acid Reflux (think) caused by Fish Oil
Update on my previous post

I did take the Siberian pine nut oil but it made the gurgling in my stomach worse. I stop it and started taking Turmeric. At first I took the turmeric with ingredients 95% extract curcuminoids and organic ginger (brand: Organic India) but this gave me a headache - could be too strong and made me gassy also. I tried the Swanson Turmeric with only curcuma longa no added curcuminoids and it worked! My stomach doesn't gurgle as much. Although I'm still having a wide array of food sensitivities. I used to eat only brown rice, now I get gassy so had to switched to white rice which I know is not good. Also, no potatoes, no sweets, no oils/fats, no alcohol/milk/orange juice, no lemon/vinegar. Otherwise I get the gurgling which is very uncomfortable and gives me a lot of anxiety.

I have been researching day and night online even while at work to help with this. I came across Dr. Hulda Regehr Clark's book "The Cure for All Diseases".
You can find a free pdf file online/google search. It talks about parasite cleansing. Just because you don't feel pain in the stomach or digestive areas doesn't mean microbes aren't feasting on your digestive tissues. Which was my case - I don't feel any pain at all since I've had these gas/bloating for almost 5 months now.

I decided to go to the local VitaminShoppe and bought Parastroy (by Nature's Secret) price is reasonable compared to others they have and I read reviews on Let me just say the night after I took 4 capsules (it comes in 2 bottles - Para-sweep and Para-rid) you have to take 2 of each 2x a day, 8 total. That night I did not have gurgling anymore.

I read the reviews which complained about constipation but didn't have that problem. I make sure I drink plenty of water though and I don't eat pork and beef (haven't for 4 years now). I can tell you my food sensitivities are gone after only 2 days in Parastroy. I noticed that after taking the 4 capsules a few minutes I have to use the bathroom but so far I only have to use the bathroom no more than 3x a day - I was afraid I had to go every hour.

Good luck all - if you get a chance to read the book by Hulda Clark "The cure for all diseases" I highly recommend it.
Don't be afraid to try a Parasite Cleanse. I'm only 95 lbs and was OK with the 8 capsules I have to take with Parastroy. If you are heavier you should be OK.

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