Thursday, May 3, 2012

Anti-inflammatories and my tummy

Ok, I did it to myself. I managed to TOTALLY mess myself up and at the most inopportune time and now I have to reap what I have sown. I had good intentions...the best of intentions, but POOR results.

As many know, I have ALWAYS had issues sleeping. I believe it is totally heriditary. My dad had issues. Many of my siblings have these issues, too. Unlike some, though, I try to come up with ways to overcome that. Sleep is just something I am unwilling to do without. I like it. I like to sleep all night long. I like to be rested during the day. Without sleep, my function throughout the day is poor which is unacceptable as a mom or even as a human being.

I have tried so many things. I have eaten a small meal before bed (supposed to give that kind of full and sleepy effect). I have eaten ice cream before bed (something about the creaminess). I used to take muscle relaxers to help with my TMJ that would help me sleep (this was the best solution except it caused me to gain weight, plus it is not a good, long term solution).

A little over a year ago (or so), I decided to try a new regimen. It worked pretty well and so I continued it...EVERY SINGLE NIGHT of the last year (or was it two). Each night, I would take 2 advil pms and about 1500 mg of Valerian root. I figured it was better than doing tylenol pm and valerian root because tylenol can cause liver damage. I didn't know about the issues surrounding ibuprofen.

So, when I started getting severe heart burn...acid bubbling up into the back of my throat...I thought something odd was going on. I never checked on causes...I just popped some Tums, peppermints, or pepcid ac. For over a year I have struggled with this intense burn.

One day, I was talking about my issues with some friends and one of them told me how dangerous it is to take ibuprofen so it eats at the lining of the stomach. I mentioned my bouts with heartburn and she very wisely exclaimed "DUH!". Wow, how did I not know about that??

I stopped taking it immediately opting for a more natural sleep aid that has worked WONDERS for me. The heartburn, however, has continued. I went to the doctor today and after a thorough discussion, she agrees that it is due to long term anti-inflammatory use. Luckily for me, the stomach lining can be repaired and she was able to put me on the road to recovery in that area.

BUT, if it were not for the mistakes I made with the ibuprofen at night, I would not be in the mess I am in now. I have been suffering from sciatic nerve pain which is really quite awful. The common choice of alleviating the pain is an anti-inflammatory. My doctor informed me, though, that I need to stay off of all anti-inflammatories until my tummy is better. This leaves me in a place of having to deal with the pain and stick with natural pain relief remedies like the epsom salt baths. I need to give my stomach 2 months to aspirin, no aleve, and no advil!! I can take tylenol, but it won't do much.

I have lived my life kind of just going and not worrying. I heard about stomach problems with ibuprofen but figured I would be immune...though, thinking about it.....I would likely be imune if I weren't taking it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!! So now, I have to just try and work through this other pain while I let my stomach heal.

This could be a good thing, though. I do not want to rely on medications to feel better. I want to find ways around pharmacy trips. I got a prescription today for my tummy...but it's not a drug that is potent and meant to relieve simply calms down the stomach acid. I would rather stick with the epsom salt baths...stretching...walking... I was so pleased to find a doctor that didn't just start prescribing me meds. I spent years having doctors automatically go for the drugs....or think I was drug seeking when I had legitimate head pain. Now, I am off all prescriptions (except this new one) and I think that is a good thing. My leg does hurt at times, but I have dealt with chronic pain before and this one seems fairly easy to control. BUT, I must admit that I would like to be able to take a medication that could alleviate the pain (an anti-inflammatory)...but I have to deal with two seperate things and Lord knows I do not need an ulcer...or worse, bleeding in the stomach.

Moral: From now on, I must be diligent about what I put in my body.

Lighter note: She felt pretty ok with my natural sleep remedy (MidNite).