I have several illnesses and take quite a few meds prescribed for me by the numerous Dr.’s I’ve seen since my first chronic condition appeared at 20.
I was living with an abusive man, drinking copiously, and eating little, when I developed my first chronic illness, GERD, ie gastrointestinal reflux disease. It came in the form of excruciating pain in my chest and down my arm that went on for 3 days before I headed to the hospital. During this time my boyfriend kicked me repeatedly for lying in bed and not having his supper ready.
I spent 2 weeks in the hospital before they determined I had a large erosive ulcer in my esophagus, caused from a combination of too much liquor, too little food, extreme stress, and the high acid content of my stomach. An acidic bile was constantly being refluxed up into my esophagus. This was occurring because my esophageal sphincter was ‘floppy’ ie the natural tension in the sphincter muscle that was supposed to keep the food/acid/liqour in my stomach was not present. The alcohol and stress were part of this floppiness, poor diet, and also good old genetics.
So I was put on a proton pump inhibitor to decrease the acid in my stomach, given a diet to follow, some other common advice for the condition, and have been on various inhibitors ever since – 27 years. I still have problems with reflux/GERD when I overeat, gain weight, drink etc. The old pain comes back which smartens me up pretty fast, feels like a heart attack.
I don’t know the long term effect of these inhibitors on my body except for the study done on men that showed increased stomach cancer rates after 5 years on one particular drug.
On the bright side, after 2 weeks in the hospital away from the influence of my boyfriend, my aunt and uncle talked me into moving in with them and this was the first step in leaving my abuser. I never was with a physically abusive man since.