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I am a 20 year old college student living in Iowa. In November of 2016, I got sick with the stomach flu. Since then, things deteriorated gastrointestinally. In December I was still having diarrhea and constant nausea, and so my family physician prescribed 40mg Protonix (pantoprazole) once daily. This helped a lot, and I would notice a difference in the morning if I waited too long taking my antacid.

I was still having symptoms like stomach pain, some nausea, acid reflux, irritable bowels.

However, at the end of March 2017, things took a turn for the worse. I woke up a few mornings in a row constantly puking. Nothing would make me feel better, I could not keep my anti-nauseas down. I lost 10 to 12 pounds from November to March.nd another 10 to 15 pounds from March to now. At the end of Summer

My doctor rushed the orders for an endoscopy. I had already gotten bloodwork done for celiac disease, lactose intolerance, H.Pylori, stool samples for bacteria, and everything came back clean and all within normal ranges.

My endoscopy showed chronic gastritis, and they bumped my Protonix up to 40 mg twice a day. This helped with the acid reflux but I was still nauseous every morning, eating hurt my stomach, and I had no appetite. I was prescribed Sulcrafate 4 times daily to manage the stomach pain from meals. It has been hard keeping up on that as I read it is best to eat smaller, more frequent meals during the day, which happens more than three times. I have to take the Sulcrafate an hour before a meal. It is not ideal.

I was not satisfied by the answer my doctor and the first Gastroenterologist had given me, and they had not given me any course of treatment. I went online and decided to change my lifestyle habits. I worked out a lot more, 4 times weekly, quit caffeine, don’t smoke, don’t eat fatty foods, cook for myself mostly every day, avoid gluten, drink lactaid, avoid overeating and eating too much chocolate, I sleep completely upright against the wall that my bed is on, and I take all medications as prescribed. Not much change.

I received a recommendation to see the University of Iowa Hospital Gastroenterologist, but the earliest appointment was three months away in September. I found another Gastro doctor who I was able to see in early September, while also keeping my late September U of I doctor. 

The second Gastro, Dr. Z, told me that chronic gastritis is not really a diagnosis and that almost everyone could have it. He took a look at all the tests run and asked about a history of how it started. He is assuming that because of an exposure to a bacteria when I got sick with the flu in November, my upper GI system had gotten out of whack and that I have a functional gastrointestinal disorder. He prescribed 25mg Amitriptyline, as that medication messes with the serotonin and norepinephrine, which also has to do with your nervous system and could help my gastrointestinal disorder. I have been on it three weeks now and notice no difference except weight gain. Dr. Z is hopeful because he thinks I am doing better since April, as I have not thrown up in a couple months and no longer feel too nauseous. However the acid that is in my throat is constant, it is an awful burning pain that reaches my chest and my throat and feels like I have to puke or burp or something constantly. Little to no effect the antacids have, and little to no effect OTC chewables like Gaviscon have on it. It is constant and awful and I am sick and tired of it.

I lost another 10 to 15 pounds from March to now. At the end of Summer 2016 I was 155, 14 percent body fat. Now I am down to 5.9 percent body fat and 130 pounds, although slowly increasing due to new medication that increases appetite and also causes weight gain. Yet the acid reflux should be getting better, as many people are overweight and experience these symptoms. I was never really overweight and surely am not now. 

I recently saw my third gastro at the U of I Hospitals, and he said unfortunately there was not a lot known about these gastro disorders. Which makes me more upset. However he asked about the amitryptaline, and asked if I had depression. When I answered yes (as I was diagnosed Freshman yaer of high school), he asked “from what?” Like, what kind of doctor asks what I’m depressed about? It is a chemical disorder, so I am not situationally depressed. Obviously I am upset about being so sick, but I also suffer from depression naturally so I was not sure how qualified he could be if he was asking such a dumb question like that.

The next test he wants me to do is a 24 hour PH monitor, but I have to be off my antacids for 2 weeks to do that, so I am reluctant to take that test. I am waiting to see if the amitryptaline works. Dr. Z seems to think that this goes away on its own, that I am getting better, and that the amitryptaline may take 4 to 6 weeks to work, like normal antidepressants do.

I am out of options. I am extremely tired living this way. Gastro #3 says some people have it forever. My parents read that many people experience symtoms forever. This is not a life I want to live and it has not even been a year dealing with these symtpoms. I am so lost and out of hope.

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