I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) when I was 26 years old after a few years of heartburn symptoms. I was able to control my symptoms with high dose PPIs for 2 years but after continued use, I developed debilitating side effects from the medication. I subsequently underwent a Nissen Fundoplication procedure in 2017 to allow me to come off PPIs. This was performed under the care of a Consultant Gastroenterologist.
It was initially successful after a long recovery but around two years later, I developed recurrent GERD symptoms and persistent abdominal and chest pain. I knew I needed to do something.
I discovered RefluxUK after a lot of online research and sought a second opinion from Mr Nick Boyle as a leading expert in the management of GERD.
After arranging several diagnostic tests, Mr Boyle confirmed that I had a recurrent hiatus hernia, my GERD had returned to levels that were significantly higher than pre-surgery and I was also diagnosed with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) as a result of long term PPI use.
I was keen to avoid re-do surgery and through RefluxUK’s multidisciplinary team, they were able to devise a treatment plan to help control my symptoms without surgical intervention. I had various diagnostic tests performed by Mr Boyle himself, the Functional Gut Clinic and was also referred to a dietitian. A treatment plan recommended by the team involved a low dose PPI to mitigate any side effects and adopting a strict low FODMAP diet along with daily probiotics (Symprove). After a year of following this regime, repeat breath tests showed that my SIBO had been almost eradicated and my GERD symptoms were also under control. Despite occasional flare ups, my symptoms are continuing to be well controlled for the time being which have improved my quality of life.
My diverse symptoms have fluctuated over the past few years since my surgery in 2017 which has made an accurate diagnosis difficult. However, I was reassured by the holistic approach Mr Boyle and the RefluxUK team took towards devising a treatment plan that did not immediately lead to a re-do surgery. I was confident that each of my symptoms were being addressed and I underwent a comprehensive set of diagnostic tests to ensure all possibilities had been considered. GERD is a complex disease and Mr Boyle and the team were empathetic towards my treatment plan considering I was diagnosed at a young age and the possible complications that can be associated with re-do surgery. All RefluxUK staff I interacted with were incredibly professional, kept me up to date on the progress of any follow up appointments and responded in a timely manner.
For now, I intend to continue with my treatment plan recommended by Mr Boyle and I am confident that I will continue to receive the same standard of excellent care if necessary in the future.