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Dr. Brims
Dr. Brims, U.S. Licensed Physician
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 9616
Experience:  U.S. Licensed Physician, general surgery and internal medicine experience
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I am a 38 year old male with a history a degenerative disc

Customer Question

Hi. I am a 38 year old male with a history a degenerative disc disease, 2x lower lumbar laminectomies, an autoimmune disorder called SAPHO syndrome, benign hypertension, depression and anxiety. I take 30mg Cymbalta, 50mg Trazodone, Prilosec 40mg, Atenolol, OTC allergy medications, some newly prescribed enzymes and a vitamin daily.
I have had a very stressful last year including the loss of a job (due to cutbacks), getting married, moving/buying a house, on top of an uptick in health issues, especially anxiety, digestive issues (reflux, bad upper gastric bloating, etc) and back pain. A bit over a year ago, I lost my legs out from under me one morning. An MRI a few weeks later revealed a small-ish left lateral herniation at L1-L2. Around the same time I was diagnosed with GERD. Between the spinal issue and the GERD, I spent most of the last year having middle back pain and spams. I did PT, massage, and a number of other things to help. When my stress reduced some after getting married, things started to get a bit better. I have kind of been back and forth with pain, anxiety and digestive issues since. Though I feel a bit more experienced and confident that my issues aren't majorly life threatening, some things do get my health-related anxiety going again.
In the last few months, I decided to follow-up with my GI doctor because the GERD and bloating never seemed to be something I could get under control. I was hoping to get to back to feeling consistently better so I could be more productive, exercise more, and experience the relatively good health I had prior to the last year (the stress and health issues have left me feeling poorly at least 1/2 of the time, fatigued, anxious, etc) A 48 hour fecal fat test was ordered along with an abdominal CT. The CT was clear, but the fecal fat test came back showing I was passing 15 grams of fat per day undigested. I was then tested for celiac disease, but am negative.
My doctor started me on prescription pancreatic enzymes (ZenPep 10k lipase) two with a meal, 3x a day via a phone call from his nurse. I have an appointment to see him in a few weeks. When looking up information about the enzymes and the results of my fat test, I came upon a lot of information that showed, in my estimation, the likelihood of pancreatic issues (chronic pancreatitis, etc). I have never had pancreatitis, but I've certainly had enough GI and middle back pain to cause me to be a bit concerned about the possibilities.
I won't get any input from my GI doctor until my next appointment, and I am uncomfortable not knowing what is going on in the meantime. I would like some help considering some more common, benign (or more benign than serious pancreatic problems) issues that may have led my doctor to prescribe the enzymes. I am deciding to ask for input because I've spent enough time scaring myself and would like some trusted input to help clear my mind of all the scary options. I have too much diagnostic information, but not enough real-world experience on this one ;)
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Brims replied 4 years ago.
Dr Brims :

Hello, welcome to the site! My name is***** and I will try to assist you with your medical question, and any medical information you seek

Dr Brims :

I am sorry to hear about this

Dr Brims :

If your doctor ordered pancreatic enzymes then it is likely he has diagnosed you with chronic pancreatitis

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is that possible to have when I have never had acute pancreatitis?
Expert:  Dr. Brims replied 4 years ago.
it is possible to have even though you have never had acute pancreatitis, in your situation there may have been minor damage to the pancreas that persisted over time
Dr. Brims and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok. Thanks for the information. I was hoping that SIBO or something more simple would be likely. Dealing with another chronic condition is not high on my list of "wants" ;)
Expert:  Dr. Brims replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome,
I understand your concerns, I wish it were something else and I wish I had better news.